FAO Finds New CITES Protections Warranted to Promote the Sustainable Trade of Sharks Worldwide
Press Release Date: December 14, 2009
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
A international panel of independent fisheries experts convened by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today found that new trade protections are warranted for five threatened shark species – oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, and scalloped, great and smooth hammerheads.
In October, the United States (co-sponsored by Palau) and the European Union submitted proposals to list these species under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The proposals will now be considered for adoption at the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP15), which will take place in Doha, Qatar in March 2010.
“Pressure from international trade is driving some shark species towards extinction,” said Courtney Sakai, senior campaign director at Oceana. “Stronger trade measures will positively impact global shark populations.”
These species are under pressure due to the increased global trade of shark products, particularly fins. An Appendix II listing would limit trade to sustainable levels by requiring export permits, thus protecting the future health of the species. Species such as polar bears, wolves and the American black bear are currently listed under Appendix II.
“This could be the turning point for sharks,” said Sakai. “If countries join together now we can promote the sustainable trade of sharks worldwide.”