Thursday, March 14, 2013

5 Species Of Sharks Gain Protection; CITES Summit Narrowly Votes To Control Export of Shark Fins

Shark Update

This is an update of a previous post:

Hammerheads are among the five species accorded more protection at the CITES Conference;
"those fishing for oceanic whitetip, porbeagle and three species of hammerhard sharks will now
require strictly controlled permits to export the fins, The Guardian says. China and Japan had
opposed the motion, but were narrowly defeated.
Photo Credit: Chris Newbert/Corbis
Source: The Guardian
An article, by Damian Carrington, in The Guardian reports that five species of sharks have gained greater protection from overfishing and trade at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) conference in Bangkok, Thailand. The CITES conference, represented by 178 nations, voted for implementing "strictly controlled permits to export fins of oceanic whitetip, porbeagle and three species of hammerhead," Damian Carrington says:
The millions of sharks killed every year to feed the vast appetite for shark-fin soup in Asia now have greater protection, after the 178 nations at the world's biggest wildlife summit voted to crack down on the trade.
Those fishing for oceanic whitetip, porbeagle and three species of hammerhead shark will now require strictly controlled permits to export the fins. The move is a landmark moment for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) because many previous attempts to protect marine species – including these sharks – have failed, largely due to opposition from Japan and China. Those nations argued other bodies have responsibility for fisheries, but their opponents, including the EU, US and Brazil, said Cites is far more effective and conservation campaigners were delighted. Manta rays also won new protection.
"Dealing with fisheries is always hard due the huge economic and political interests involved," said a delegate from one of the world's top fin-exporting nations. She added the cultural attachment to serving shark fin soup at weddings in China – now affordable for millions more in the country's swelling middle class – was very strong and very hard to break: "It would be like telling the French not to have champagne at their wedding."
Sharks are highly sought after but are slow to mature and have few offspring, making them extremely vulnerable to overfishing. The culling of 1 million oceanic whitetip sharks every year has resulted, for example, in its Pacific population crashing by 93% between 1995 and 2010. Today the species was given protection in a close vote that just achieved the two-thirds majority required.
Nations like China and Japan oppposed the measure, but could not muster sufficient votes to quash the motion. So, for now the the five species of sharks will receive greater protection. This is a victory for conservation. The CITES conference ends today.

You can read the rest of the article at [The Guardian]