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!
Well done Captain Khan, what a catch. I’m really glad you got the baby in your hands as well otherwise I wouldn’t have thought you were such a big strong man without a superiority complex.
I shouldn’t. I wasn’t there, I don’t know the state of the oceanic manta population in 1933, I don’t know if you caught it on purpose, I don’t know if from then on you dedicated your life to something honorable. I shouldn’t but I completely judge you for this. In a bad way.
“Today, bottom trawlers track down fish at depths of up to 1500m to compensate for the depletion of shallow water resources. Their gigantic nets rake up the bottom of the ocean, destroying virtually all of the deep sea habitat and the fauna it hosts.
Many deep sea creatures are already in danger of extinction. Without government subsidies, deep sea trawlers would operate at a loss.
Deep-sea bottom trawling: Let’s end this massacre of biodiversity.”
Bloom Associations, though over shadowed by the disappointment of Rio +20, won an epic David vs. Goliath style court case against Intermarché who claimed to “[play] a determinant role in maintaining sustainable fishing in France, the preservation and renewal of marine resources.”
Intermarché belongs to the French group, Les Mousquetaires, which also owns a large Brittany-based trawler fleet that supplies its well-stocked fish counters.
Claire Nouvian, of Bloom, called the company up on their claim that its fishing practices down to 1,500 meters, or about 5,000 feet, caused less damage than a hiker’s footprint on a beach.
“That would be laughable if it didn’t sow doubt among officials and legislators,” she said. “This total scorn for truth bogs down the debate in technical detail and suggests there is scientific controversy, which there is not.”
She cited the gold-standard International Council for the Exploitation of the Sea, which classed all French and European Union deep-sea catch as beyond safe biological limits.
The French court ordered Intermarché to stop the ad campaign and also drop a logo that is similar to the Marine Stewardship Council seal of approval.
How cool is this, and how cool is she! Congratulations to Bloom - your small NGO’s huge victory is an inspiration to all. If you have a voice, and the determination you have all the tools you need to make a difference.
World’s Seafood Footprint
National Geographic has compiled an incredible set of infographics about the impacts of seafood choices we make that I practically wet my pants over.
Infographics are such a powerful tool to showcase hard-to-digest-information in the conservation world. Check out the world’s Top 20 countries that catch (purple) and consume (yellow) seafood today. Information from the awesomeness that is FishBase.
The Scottish Government is the first in Europe to introduce legislation protecting such a wide range of species. The Sharks Skates and Rays (Prohibition of Fishing) Order came into force on 30 March and covers 26 species, including angel sharks, tope sharks, common skate and undulate rays.
The legislation extends current protection measures with a landing ban for recreational anglers, as well as prohibiting commercial fishermen from catching vulnerable tope.
Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Sharks, skates and rays form an important part of Scotland’s rich marine biodiversity. Some of these species are critically endangered and this legislation will mean that we have gone above and beyond EU legislation to offer greater levels of protection.
“With a landing ban across both commercial and recreational fisheries, we can help support stock recovery for vulnerable shark, skate and ray species.
This legislation builds on Scotland’s leading protection measures for sharks – including our proactive decision in 2009 to strengthen the ban on barbaric shark finning.”
Following a trend of decisions that have made me question the integrity of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), certification was given to the Canadian longline swordfish fishery despite data that shows bycatch from this fishery is a major threat to shark and sea turtle populations, and objections filed by three major marine conservation organizations: the Ecology Action Centre, the David Suzuki Foundation, and the Sea Turtle Conservancy.
The MSC assessment acknowledges that two sharks die for every swordfish caught and that the fishery kills between 200-500 endangered sea turtles a year. Longline swordfish is listed as Red ‘Avoid’ on Canada’s SeaChoice, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and Greenpeace International Seafood lists. But as of March 2012, its swordfish will be sold with the MSC’s ‘blue check mark’.
“We’re at a point where eco-certification of seafood means less and less,” says Jordan Nikoloyuk, Sustainable Fisheries Coordinator of the Ecology Action Centre. “This certification really adds confusion to the marketplace and eco-conscious shoppers have to take the time to ask questions about how their fish is caught or risk being misled and even ripped off by certification companies.”
The objection submitted by conservation organizations proposed that the high levels of shark and sea turtle bycatch, the low levels of at-sea monitoring, and the fishery’s unwillingness to move toward international best practices are reasons why it should fail the MSC certification process.
Fish Out of Water: Five Ocean Species We’re Eating to Death
The prickly little sea urchin isn’t the only one in danger—consumers have taken a serious jab at oceanic ecosystems with their collective knives, forks, spoons, and chopsticks. Thanks to human appetites, for some species of ocean dwellers, there just aren’t that many fish in the sea.