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SHARKS WORKSHOP AHEAD OF CITES

Cape Town, South Africa - This week the South African government through the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is hosting a meeting of senior officials from Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Seychelles to review the proposals to list silky sharks, thresher sharks and mobula rays, which will be voted on by 181 countries at the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa from 24 September 2016 until 05 October 2016.

If adopted at the Conference of the Parties in Johannesburg, these listings would double the percentage of the shark fin trade that is regulated under the world’s premier wildlife conservation convention. With global trade in shark fins and other shark products, such as meat and skin, still driving these ancient species toward extinction, these listings are urgently needed.

Shark species have suffered declines of over 70% wherever they are found. Yet despite this fact, current fisheries management measures have to become more effective in protecting such species.  Over 100 million sharks are killed annually around the world, much of which is still unregulated.

An Appendix II CITES listing will help ensure that the trade of thresher sharks, silky sharks, and mobula rays is capped at sustainable levels, almost 10% of the global shark fin trade, so they may survive to benefit generations to come.

In the past month alone, Pacific, Latin American, Southeast Asian and eastern European countries have also met regionally to coordinate their support for these listings.

Each regional workshop provide fisheries, customs and environment officials with an in depth look at the proposed shark and ray species, an opportunity to discuss implementation successes of the 2013 CITES shark listings as well as concerns, and a hands-on training on how any country would be able to identify these newly proposed species in trade.

An Appendix II CITES listing will help ensure that the trade of thresher sharks, silky sharks, and mobula rays is capped at sustainable levels, almost 10% of the global shark fin trade, so they may survive to benefit generations to come.

 

Southern African nations now have the opportunity to become a part of history, and lend their names to support these listings.