11 March 2013

More sharks and manta rays in the CITES Appendices, please!

From the name itself, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) aims to ensure that the international trade of wild animals and plants will not cause their extinction. Only a handful out of the thousands of listed species in the CITES Appendices are marine species, and despite all efforts to include more, most proposals were rejected.

According to the Review of the State of World Marine Fisheries Resources published in 2005 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), more than 50% of marine fish stocks are fully exploited, 17% are overexploited and 7% are already depleted. The statistics are highly alarming and require immediate action.

As of this writing, the Sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) is happening in Bangkok, Thailand. Today they will vote on the addition of five shark species and all manta rays to Appendix II. This newly published paper* from the Fish and Fisheries was written primarily to help the CoP in their discussions by providing information that can help address their concerns.

Hoping that they vote in favor of the sharks and manta rays!

* Executive summary can be found here (also available in French and Spanish).

 UPDATE (as of 15 March 2013): All proposals were approved! More details here.

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