CITES conservation body gives sharks protection
THE AMAZON PINK DOLPHIN’S VOICE-11/03/2013
Delegates at a global wildlife conference have voted overwhelmingly to extend protection of five threatened species of shark. Demand for shark fin soup from Asia has led to a decline in species numbers across the world.
The 178 signatory nations to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species voted on Monday to protect five species of shark threatened with extinction through fishing.
Sharks are threatened by a rampant demand for their fins, with shark fin soup considered a delicacy in China and Japan. Both countries tried in vain to block the proposal, put forward by nations including Brazil, Colombia and the United States.
The vote, which extends protection to the oceanic whitetip, the porbeagle shark and three types of hammerhead shark was welcomed as a positive step by US-based group Shark Advocates International.
Forty years of fighting for endangered species
Since signing the CITES convention to protect endangered species, much has been done for endangered animals and plants. Yet often it’s hard to get all countries to agree to take action. (03.03.2013)
“These highly traded, threatened shark species urgently need protection from the unsustainable trade that jeopardizes populations, ecosystems, livelihoods, and ecotourism,” said group founder and president, Sonja Fordham.
A slow death
Under the terms of the treaty, governments will have to comply with the regulations that require them to issue sustainable export sanctions within 18 months. If they do not, they could be subject to sanctions.
The practice of gathering shark fins involves cutting the fins off living animals, with sharks dying slowly of blood loss or from being unable to use their gills to respire.
More than two dozen shark species are listed as officially endangered, with over 100 others considered to be vulnerable.
CITES meetings take place every three years, with delegates discussing the best ways to regulate trade in plants and animals.
Cites meeting votes to protect Oceanic whitetip shark
By Matt McGrathEnvironment correspondent, BBC News
Delegates at the Cites conservation meeting in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, have voted to extend the protection to a threatened species of shark.
The Oceanic whitetip has seen its numbers decline dramatically in recent years because of overfishing for fins.
Campaigners said the move to record and regulate all trade in the species was historic, and that they believed two other sharks would also be protected.
However, the decisions could still be overturned on appeal at the meeting.
An estimated 100 million sharks are killed by commercial fishing every year, researchers have recently reported. They blame a huge appetite for shark-fin soup in China and Hong Kong for stimulating the trade.
The Oceanic whitetip and the two other species for which campaigners are seeking further protection – the Hammerhead and the Portbeagle – are highly valued for their fins.
The conservation meeting will also decide whether to regulate trade in two types of manta ray hunted for their gill plates, which are used in some Chinese traditional medicines.
After a tense debate, delegates voted by 92 votes to 42 to upgrade the Oceanic whitetip to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).
Appendix II lists species which are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but which may become so unless trade is closely controlled.
Campaigners were delighted with the outcome of the vote, but cautioned that it could still be overturned before the end of the meeting.
Dr Susan Liebermann from Pew Environment Group said it was a big day for the convention.
“It is a great victory for conservation, but it is a great victory for Cites as well. It is 40 years old, it is a real coming of age,” she told the BBC.
Many attendees say the move is highly significant because it is the first time that Cites delegates have voted to protect a commercially valuable species of shark.
“It does set a tone that countries are finally ready to accept that we need Cites listings for commercially valuable, highly-traded highly-threatened shark species,” said Sonja Fordham from Shark Advocates International.
Even though the vote was 92 to 42 in favour, it barely reached the two thirds majority needed to become part of Cites regulations. Two other species of threatened shark will be voted on later on Monday.
“The momentum is building,” Dr Liebermann said. “I’m optimistic that the Hammerheads will go through as well.”
China and Japan strongly oppose the moves to upgrade the three shark species, and there had been much talk about undue pressure being brought to bear on developing countries.
Many believe their underlying concern is about Cites having power over commercial fishing.
But in the end it was European Union money that might have played a crucial role with the Oceanic whitetip vote.
The head of the EU’s delegation told the meeting that extra cash would be made available to help poorer countries change their fishing practices.
“If there’s a need for it the funding will be available,” Feargal O’Coigligh said.
Whatever the outcomes of the other votes, all of them can be overturned in the final, plenary session of this meeting. However, re-opening a proposal requires support from a third of member states.
At present only a handful of sharks are offered some level of protection under Cites. These are the whale shark, basking shark, great white shark, and seven sawfishes.
Shark Trade Regulation Passes Vote During CITES Meeting
BANGKOK — Conservationists at a global wildlife conference on Monday voted to regulate the trade of shark species that have been threatened because their fins are used to make expensive delicacies in Asia.
Delegates at the triennial meeting in Bangkok of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna adopted the proposals to put the oceanic whitetip, hammerhead and porbeagle sharks on a list of species whose trade is closely controlled.
More than two dozen species of shark are officially endangered, and more than 100 others considered either vulnerable or near threatened. Like manta rays, sharks are seen as valuable to nations with dive tourism industries, with island territories such as the Bahamas, Fiji and the Maldives deriving major benefits. Eleven nations, including Brazil, the U.S. and Egypt, proposed regulating trade in the species.
The oceanic whitetip proposal passed in a secret ballot with 92 votes in favor, 42 against and 8 abstentions, while the hammerhead proposal passed with 91 votes in favor and 39 against. The porbeagle proposal was adopted with 93 votes in favor, 39 against and 8 abstentions.
Sonja Fordham, the founder of U.S.-based Shark Advocates International, said in a statement she was pleased with the votes. “These highly traded, threatened shark species urgently need protection from the unsustainable trade that jeopardizes populations, ecosystems, livelihoods, and ecotourism.”
Rebecca Regnery, Wildlife Humane Society International deputy director, said the proposal adoptions were “the only way to truly give some of the most heavily traded species a respite from the commercial onslaught.”
Supporters said the species’ numbers have declined due to overfishing and being accidentally caught by fishermen chasing other types of fish.
Japan and China were among the proposals’ opponents. They argued that shark population control should be handled by regional fisheries management organizations.
Threats against oceanic whitetip and hammerhead sharks are driven by demand for their fins, while porbeagle sharks are targeted primarily for their meat in Europe.
The non-profit Pew Environment Group said Hong Kong is the world’s biggest shark fin market, with 83 countries exporting more than 10.3 million kilograms (22.7 million pounds) of shark fin product there in 2011.
CITES meets every three years to discuss how to best regulate trade in plants and animals to ensure the survival of more than 35,000 species. CITES delegates represent 178 governments, as well as businesses, non-governmental organizations and groups speaking for indigenous peoples.
Source: HUFF POST
Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras
Gustavo López Ospina
Pieter Jan Brouwer
Assistant: Emilia Romero
The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice is associated with the International Environmental Mission, a grass roots citizens movement created by Chilean Senator Juan Pablo Letelier.
SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer.