JOHANNESBURG – The Pew Charitable Trusts on Tuesday applauded the move by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to extend protection to four species of sharks and nine species of mobula rays that they need to recover from depleted populations.
Trade in silky sharks, three species of thresher sharks, and nine species of mobula rays would now have to be proven sustainable, after more than two-thirds of the 182 CITES member governments at the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) in Johannesburg, agreed to add the species to Appendix II.
The move provides a chance for these species to recover from population declines of more than 70 percent throughout their range caused primarily by global trade in fins and gill plates.
“This vote is a huge step towards ensuring the survival of these larger shark and ray species, which continue to be at greatest risk of extinction because of the value of their fins and gills,” said Luke Warwick, director of the global shark conservation campaign at The Pew Charitable Trusts.
“The call from a record-setting number of governments to protect these species has been answered.”
“We look forward to continued global success and coordination as the listings are implemented,” added Warwick, “and applaud CITES as the world’s leading protector of sharks and rays.”
– African News Agency