Friday, 15 March 2013

Good day for sharks & manta rays as CITES protects sharks and Manta rays

Oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, and hammerhead sharks, and Manta rays get protection
March 2013. Five species of sharks and two species of mantra rays will now be subject to international trade regulation under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES.

The rays have been included on Appendix II for the first time, meaning that trade will be restricted, and exporters will need permits when trading them to other countries.

Manta ray populations have been declining because of the demand for medicine, human consumption and as bait. They also have a limited reproductive capacity, and are easy to catch in large numbers because they ‘aggregate’.

Tourism around mantas brings in around US$100 million a year. This would obviously be hit if manta populations decrease further.

Three proposals were successful in listing five shark species under Appendix II of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
Under Appendix II strict measures will be put in place to regulate the international trade in the fins and meat of the species concerned. Governments have been given up to 18 months to implement the new measures.

Five species—Oceanic Whitetip, Scalloped Hammerhead, Great Hammerhead, Smooth Hammerhead and Porbeagle sharks—all obtained the two-thirds majority amongst voting governments to become included under Appendix II of the Convention.

They include the first sharks to be listed under CITES because of concerns over the level of trade in their fins. The Porbeagle is primarily traded for its meat. The global value of the trade in shark fin industry is estimated by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization to be around $478 million per year.

The sharks discussed at today’s meeting are particularly vulnerable to overfishing because they are all slow growing, late to mature, long-living and produce few young, which means it is difficult for populations to recover from overfishing.

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