Have you met Shark Stanley and his mates?
It’s embarrassing that so few species of elasmobranchs are internationally protected from trade, especially considering how many are classified as endangered, AND the intense demand for fins and gill rakers for unproven medicinal properties.
CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an multi-lateral (lots of countries) environmental agreement (they signed a treaty) targeting the trade in endangered species. Species are listed under one of three Appendices that controls the trade of these species and/or their parts between signatory countries.
And there aren’t many sharks on there. Or rays.
In fact, the only elasmobranch species listed are:
- White shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
- Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus)
- Whale shark (Rhincodon typus)
- Seven species of Sawfish.
Pretty lacking don’t you think? We can definitely do better. And a lot of people are trying. The next CITES meeting begins March 3rd 2013, and there’s a big push for several elasmobranch species to be listed.
Shark Defenders have a fintastic campaign to show public support for this move. Meet Shark Stanley, Manta Reina, Pierre le Porbeagle and Waqi Whitetip. You can find them all on http://www.sharkdefenders.com/. Print out the cut outs and get modelling! Shark Defenders wants 5000 photos from all 177 signatory countries.
Check out the progress on Shark Stanley’s Facebook page.
How to submit? Upload your photos to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram tagged with@SharkDefenders, #SharkStanley, and the country where you live (i.e. #USA, #Fiji, #Brazil, etc) or Email your photos to email@example.com for us to compile into a unique petition. You can also send your photos directly to your country’s CITES representative (follow this link and look up your country).
I can’t wait until I can get to a printer and a laminator and take our friends for an underwater photo shoot!