…They’ve had similar enemies, life histories and PR problems.
Tara Haelle | Slate
Shark conservation has been growing for years, grabbing similar attention to the plight of the whales in the 70’s and 80’s (and 90’s).
With a common ‘enemy’ in mankind, older sexual maturity, long gestation times and low litter sizes, sharks and whales have a lot more in common than you might think.
Check Tara Haelle’s article on the recent milestones in Shark conservation.
Dear Hon. Rama,
My name is Anna Oposa, co-founder of Save Philippine Seas, an independent movement to protect our country’s marine resources. I was born in Cebu City and am currently based in Malapascua, Cebu, to pursue a project to enhance the protection of thresher sharks in Monad Shoal and…
Nicely said, Anna!
Note the carefully laid out arguments, provision of solutions to the problem and the polite tone of the letter. We can demand better from our Governments, and we can do it in a respectful manner. Harsh words and angry tones won’t get you very far….
With a collective sigh of relief we can celebrate a MAHUSIVE step forward for elasmobranch conservation today!
Oceanic White Tips, Porbeagles, three hammerhead species and Manta Rays have been listed under CITES Appendix II meaning the trade in their parts will undergo international restrictions!
On top of that, Sawfish we’re upgraded to Appendix I which means no trade at all!
This is a historic, unprecedented and long overdue step forward for our oceans. A changing of the tide if you will.
Congrats to everyone whose blood, sweat and tears made this possible!
Read more: CITES4sharks press release
Elasmobranch Ecstasy at CITES!
What a day for Sharks and Manta Rays…all four proposals for Elasmobranch species at CITES were passed today. All elasmobranch species up for debate were voted YES for listing under Appendix II.
The final result will come on Thursday with the final plenary, so the fight isn’t over yet, but a positive result is thought to be very likely.
This will mean that fisheries for these species will be regulated to sustainable trade (not a ban on trade) only.
In 40 years of protecting endangered species trade through CITES, marine species have never had a day like today.This result is unprecedented as elasmobranchs have been shamefully overlooked for decades.
The following species got majority votes for their listing, with Mantas winning across board with a whopping 80%!
Keep your fins crossed for Thursday, but celebrate this significant step forward on this manic elasmobranch Monday for:
- Porbeagle sharks
- Three Hammerhead species
- Oceanic White Tip sharks
- Manta rays
- Sawfish (upgrade to Appendix I - no trade!)
A massive congratulations to all those whose research and hard work went into these proposals (Huzzah for Science!) and to those countries that voted YES!
Oceanic White Tip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) passes CITES Appendix II proposal!
Today marks the CITES debate to regulate trade in the products of 4 elasmobranchs. First up was the Oceanic White Tip, which passed with a narrow 2/3 margin of votes - 68.66%.
An Appendix II listing does not mean NO trade, but regulated and sustainable trade.
This is brilliant news, and let’s hope it sets precedent for the other species. However the battle isn’t over. The result has to be formally adopted in the final plenary on Thursday.
Next up for debate are the Hammerheads!
Fins crossed for all of them!
FYI: Social media coverage of the CITES meeting is huge. You can follow live tweets from the meeting with:
Running commentary is also coming from the ever-awesome @whysharksmatter
Today is a BIG day for shark conservation. The data collected with blood, sweat and tears of shark researchers is vital and highly influential to the decision making process. It is the ammunition needed to defend against the politics that surround shark fisheries. So today is a BIG day for science as well!
Photo: Oceanic White Tip - Brian Skerry
Photo: Yours truly with Waqi White Tip from Shark Defenders
A proposal by the US to ban cross-border trade in polar bears and their parts was defeated on Thursday at an international meeting.
The result marks a victory for Canada’s indigenous Inuit people over their bigger neighbour to the south.
Delegates at the Cites meeting in Thailand rejected the proposal to change the bear’s status from a species whose trade is regulated, not banned.
(i.e. it’s listed under CITES Appendix II. The vote was to move it to Appendix I)
A similar proposal was defeated three years ago at the last Cites meeting.
The latest plan fell far short of the two-thirds needed to pass the Bangkok conference. It garnered 38 votes in favour, 42 against and 46 abstentions.
There are about 25,000 polar bears left in the world with an estimated 16,000 living in the Canadian Arctic. Canada is the only country that permits the export of polar bear parts.
Each year around 600 polar bears are killed there, mainly by native hunters. According to Inuit representatives, the pelts from around 300 bears are sold for rugs. Other parts including fangs and paws are also exported.
The Inuit say they get an average of $4,850 per pelt. They argue that this is a critical economic resource for a people that do not have much else.
Landmarks on the Dorsal fin of a shark.
These features can be used to identify different shark species. The inability to ID shark species via their fins has been an argument used to exemplify that the trade in shark fins can’t be regulated by species.
Dr. Demian Chapman and the Pew Environment Trust show us that that simply is not an excuse anymore, and have made a guide to prove just that. An just in time for CITES, where three types of shark are up for listing.
2. Oceanic White Tip
3. Hammerhead Sharks ( I say this because if one of the three species are listed, the other two will be by proxy because their fins look too similar to distinguish)
Fins from 14 large-bodied shark species make up roughly 40% of the global fin trade. The oceanic whitetip and three hammerheads in this guide are included in this group and were estimated to constituted 7-9% of traded fins in 2000. Shark fin traders in Asia visually sort fins from these species into specific trade categories using the shape and color of the fin.
This guide is intended to help enforcement and customs personnel in the provisional identification of the first dorsal fins of these five shark species. In law enforcement situations, this could provide probable cause to hold questionable fins, so that expert opinion could be sought or genetic testing could be conducted to confirm the field identification.
These sharks are proposed for listing in CITES Appendix II. This means trade would still be allowed, but under tighter regulation that should ensure the products are coming from a sustainable source. Therefore it is vital to be able to identify their fins.
Science might not always mean Conservation, but Conservation is built on good science.
Why is CITES such an important tool?
Why is so useful?
Why is it worth this tremendous effort?
Sue Lieberman breaks CITES (and how it can stimulate shark conservation through trade restriction) down into bite sized pieces. A must watch for anyone interested in marine biology and conservation.
As a marine biologist, understanding how your research fits into the ONLY global convention for flora and fauna is essential. It helps you understand and focus your efforts so that your data can actually effect positive change for a species.
It is so rare to have a convention like this, and all it’s nuances spelt out for you and Sue does an incredible job. So go on, cheat a little, find out how your piece fits in the puzzle.
HRH The Duke Of Cambridge Prince William - CITES CoP16 Statement (by citesvd)
The CITES Convention starts today. The two week long meet will shape the future of countless endangered species. The hype this year surrounds the ongoing ivory trade of Elephants and Rhinos, as well as hopeful new protection measures for shark and ray species.