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June 11, 2014

Record Number of Migratory Sharks and Rays to be Considered for Protection by United Nations Conservation Agreement

Humane Society International, Defenders of Wildlife

  • John Stublar/istock

Humane Society International and Defenders of Wildlife applaud the proposed protections for 21 species of migratory sharks and rays submitted by member countries of the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species.

Rebecca Regnery, Humane Society International's deputy director for wildlife, said:  “We commend the countries that submitted proposals to protect sharks and rays under CMS and urge other member countries to support them. Millions of sharks and rays are killed every year to supply the trade in shark fins and gill plates yet they have little to no international protection. If adopted, these proposals will result in vital conservation measures for these species and their habitats.”

Alejandra Goyenechea, senior international counsel for Defenders of Wildlife, said: “These migratory species are central to our oceans’ health and vitality. They urgently need the protection of international conservation measures before it is too late for their populations to recover. This is another example of how countries from all geographical regions are unifying and speaking out for the conservation of sharks.”

The Convention on Migratory Species is a UN agreement with 120 member countries that protects migratory species and their habitats. The Convention also provides a framework for a number of smaller agreements that allow countries to collaborate on conservation efforts for specific species throughout their migratory route.

The CMS Secretariat received proposals from the European Union for thresher sharks, from Kenya for sawfish, from Egypt for silky sharks, from Costa Rica and Ecuador for scalloped and great hammerhead sharks, and from Fiji for reef manta rays and devil rays. These proposals will be considered for adoption at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CMS which will take place November 4-9, 2014, in Quito, Ecuador.

Media Contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras: +1 301-721-6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org    

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