Historic shark conservation decisions still must be confirmed in plenary

Bangkok, 11 March 2013.
In a highly anticipated Committee vote today, proposals to list under CITES* five species of sharks were supported by more than the two-thirds majority of voting countries needed for adoption. Conservationists are pleased yet mindful that decisions must still be confirmed in the final plenary session later this week.

“We are grateful that so many governments spoke unequivocally in support of CITES listings for sharks and rays, and are clearly concerned for the status of these threatened species,” Said Elizabeth Bennett, WCS Vice President of Species Conservation. “Assuming these decisions hold in plenary, we look forward doing all we can to support the successful implementation of these Appendix II listings.” 

“We are delighted by the outcome of today’s votes for listing several species of sharks under CITES, and hopeful that these historic decisions will be upheld in plenary later this week,” as said Sonja Fordham of Shark Advocates International. “These highly traded, threatened shark species urgently need protection from the unsustainable trade that jeopardizes populations, ecosystems, livelihoods, and ecotourism.”

Porbeagle, oceanic whitetip shark, and three species of hammerheads have been proposed by a variety of countries for listing under CITES Appendix II, which would prompt permits to ensure exports are sustainable and legal.

“We are encouraged that the required majority of CITES Parties voting this morning supported the shark listing proposals,” said Ali Hood from Shark Trust. “Between now and plenary, we will be urging governments to remain vigilant and ensure final adoption of these vital international trade controls.”

CITES Parties will reconvene in plenary to finalize decisions, likely this Thursday.

*Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

Notes to Editors:
The German Elasmobranch Society, Humane Society International, Project AWARE, Shark Advocates International, Shark Trust, and Wildlife Conservation Society, with support from Oceans 5, are working as a coalition to promote the proposals to list shark and ray species at the 16th Conference of Parties to CITES.

The fins of hammerhead and oceanic whitetip sharks are in great demand in Asia for use in shark fin soup while porbeagle sharks are prized primarily for their meat in Europe.

The CITES Parties are also considering proposals to list manta rays and freshwater sawfish.

For more information and species factsheets visit www.CITES4sharks.org and follow @CITES4sharks.

For interviews, please contact Sophie Hulme, sophie@communicationsinc.co.uk, Mob: +44 7973 712869 (London) or 08-9455-1663 (Bangkok).