Shark Alliance urges international trade restrictions for threatened sharks
Coalition supporting proposals to add eight shark species to CITES Appendix II
10 March 2010
Qatar: Whether to protect eight shark species – spiny dogfish, porbeagle, oceanic whitetip, scalloped hammerhead, great hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, dusky and sandbar sharks – that are vulnerable to international trade will be a question debated at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Photo credit: Andy Murch
|The Shark Alliance is
calling on delegates from the 175 governments that will attend the
meeting to list these threatened shark species under CITES Appendix
II. Such action would require export permits for all international
trade and a determination that trade is legal and not detrimental to
the species’ survival.
Most sharks are exceptionally
susceptible to overfishing because they grow slowly, mature late, and
produce few young. For example, spiny dogfish are pregnant for nearly
two years, and porbeagles only give birth to about four young per brood.
are exceptionally vulnerable animals and the species proposed for CITES
listing have been hit especially hard by international trade," said
Heike Zidowitz, chair of Germany's shark science society, who will head
the Shark Alliance delegation to the CITES meeting. "It's high time to
view sharks not just as commodities, but as wildlife, and to use this
wildlife treaty to control the lucrative shark trade.”
by Germany, proposals to list porbeagle and spiny dogfish have been
formally introduced by Sweden, supported by the other Member States of
the European Community, and co-sponsored by the Pacific island nation
Porbeagle and spiny dogfish, classified by the
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Endangered in
the Northwest Atlantic and globally as Vulnerable, are at risk
primarily due to demand for their meat, which drives international
trade. In Europe, porbeagle meat is among the most valuable shark meat,
particularly in France; spiny dogfish meat is more widely popular,
found regularly in UK fish and chip shops.
The United States
and Palau are proposing CITES listing for the oceanic whitetip shark,
categorized by IUCN as globally Vulnerable and the scalloped
hammerhead, listed as globally Endangered. The great hammerhead,
smooth hammerhead, sandbar and dusky shark have been added to the
latter proposal because the fins of these species closely resemble
those of scalloped hammerheads.
Hammerhead shark fins are
highly sought for use in the traditional, Asian delicacy “shark fin
soup.” Because their meat is generally considered unpalatable,
hammerhead sharks too often fall victim to “finning” (slicing off a
shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea). Strong demand for fins is
also a driving force behind the depletion of oceanic whitetip sharks.
congratulate Palau, the United States and Sweden for championing strong
proposals to list commercially valuable sharks under CITES Appendix
II," said Matt Rand, coordinator of the Shark Alliance and director of
Global Shark Conservation for the Pew Environment Group, "We call on
all other CITES parties to support the proposed Appendix II listings
for these 8 shark species before it's too late."
For further information or to arrange media interviews or B roll contact:
Sophie Hulme, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mob: +44 7973 712 869
Dan Klotz, Communications Officer, Pew Environment Group, email@example.com
Mob: +1 347-307-2866
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