GENEVA—Fast swimming mako sharks have a better chance of escaping extinction thanks to global trade controls agreed today at the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting.
The short and longfin mako shark proposal, led by Mexico and also backed by multiple countries, faced fierce opposition from countries reluctant to see CITES involvement in industrial scale pelagic fisheries. After heated long debate the two mako species were listed in Appendix II with 102 countries voting in favor, 40 opposed and 5 abstentions achieving the 2/3 majority required.
CITES Appendix II listings means international trade in the species’ meat and fins must be regulated. This will prompt regional fishing management organisations to address their woeful neglect of mako sharks caught in longline fisheries.
Rebecca Regnery, Humane Society International wildlife senior director, says: “Over-fishing, including for the lucrative Asian shark fin market, is having a devastating impact on longfin and shortfin mako sharks. Securing CITES protections for these species is an important first step in stopping the brutally cruel and wasteful practice in which sharks and rays have their fins cut off their bodies, sometimes while fully conscious.”
“But Appendix II protection doesn’t in itself ban trade, so to secure the future for these sharks and rays, this new CITES listings needs to be the start of a whole raft of other measures aimed at cracking down on this vile trade,” concluded Ms Regnery.
Humane Society International strongly commends the governments led by Mexico, Senegal and Sri Lanka who co-sponsored the mako shark proposal and brought them this much needed protection.
CITES debate has now moved to proposals to list species of wedgefish and guitarfish also in the shark and ray family.
- At CITES: Brianna Grant, firstname.lastname@example.org, [+1-202-360-3532]
- UK: Wendy Higgins, email@example.com
- United States: Nancy Hwa, 202-596-0808 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
- Australia: Ben Vozzo +61 450 258 057, email@example.com