October 3, 2016

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BREAKING NEWS: The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) approved new global protections for a host of vulnerable shark and ray species — thresher sharks, silky sharks and mobula rays — by establishing their status under the CITES Appendix II listing. Under this listing, countries are required to ensure their trade does not endanger these species in the wild and comes from sustainably managed fisheries

Thresher shark; Malapascua Island, Philippines © Big Fish Expeditions

Thresher shark; Malapascua Island, Philippines © Big Fish Expeditions

Populations of thresher sharks, silky sharks and mobula rays have declined by 70 percent or more in many parts of their range due to the lucrative market for shark fins, considered a delicacy in Asian cuisine, and ray gill plates, which are sought after for a health tonic in Asian medicine. 

Elizabeth Murdock, director of NRDC’s Pacific Ocean Initiative states, “The demand for silky shark and thresher shark fins and for mobula ray gill plates is completely unsustainable and it is driving these vulnerable species towards extinction. Listing these important species under CITES Appendix II is a huge step forward for sharks and rays — and for the health of our oceans globally.”

CITES is recognized globally as one of the most effective and best-enforced international conservation agreements. It provides protections to more than 30,000 species and has been instrumental in preventing the extinction of many animals and plants. 

Under these new rules, international trade in sharks that are commercially exploited will be regulated for the first time, securing the future of these predators which are vital to a healthy ocean food web.

Mobula rays under baitball; Raja Ampat, Indonesia © Jerome Kim

Mobula rays under baitball; Raja Ampat, Indonesia © Jerome Kim Photography

 

 

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