PRESS RELEASE: Shark proposals adopted at CITES Committee Meeting

11 Mar 2013

Manta Ray © Steve Jones.

Historic shark conservation decisions still must be confirmed in plenary

BANGKOK// In a highly anticipated Committee vote today, proposals to list five species of shark under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) were supported by more than the two-thirds majority of voting countries needed for adoption. Conservationists are pleased yet mindful that decisions must still be confirmed in the final plenary session later this week.

We are delighted by the outcome of today’s votes for listing several species of sharks under CITES, and hopeful that these historic decisions will be upheld in plenary later this week,” as said Sonja Fordham of Shark Advocates International. “These highly traded, threatened shark species urgently need protection from the unsustainable trade that jeopardizes populations, ecosystems, livelihoods, and ecotourism.”

Porbeagle, Oceanic Whitetip Shark, and three species of hammerheads (Smooth, Scalloped and Great) have been proposed by a variety of countries for listing under CITES Appendix II, which would prompt permits to ensure exports are sustainable and legal.

We are encouraged that the required majority of CITES Parties voting this morning supported the shark listing proposals,” said Ali Hood from Shark Trust. “Between now and plenary, we will be urging governments to remain vigilant and ensure final adoption of these vital international trade controls.”

CITES Parties will reconvene in plenary to finalise decisions, likely this Thursday.

Wildlife Minister Richard Benyon said:

It is fantastic news that we’re so close to achieving our aim of protecting the Porbeagle, hammerheads, Oceanic Whitetip Sharks and manta rays. I would urge all countries to recognise the weight of support we have seen today and allow these to pass through unchallenged on Thursday".

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