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CITES: Crucial for conserving sharks and rays
Date:3/7/2013

NEW YORK (March 6, 2013)Government delegates to the 16th meeting of the 178 member States of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convening in Bangkok, Thailand this week can help conserve some of the world's most threatened sharks and raysancient, cartilaginous fish species that are under severe pressure globally from over-fishing by agreeing to extend CITES measures to these species. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, CITES is crucial for addressing the conservation needs and sustainable use of sharks and rays.

The United States, Brazil, Ecuador, and more than 30 other countries have proposed to list several shark and ray species under CITES, which will help control the largely unregulated international trade in these species and their products. Many shark and ray species are threatened with extinction as a result of directed fishing and unintentional fisheries "bycatch," much of which is driven by the high demand for their fins, meat, gill rakers, used in shark fin soup and other dishes.

"We commend the leadership of the United States and other government sponsors in requesting these essential measures to control and monitor international trade in these shark and ray species, and we implore other governments to vote in their favor," said Dr. Cristin Samper, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "These taxa have suffered alarming declines from unregulated or insufficiently regulated fisheries and are in high demand for international commercial markets. There is a desperate need for trade controls to manage that demand and its impact on these vulnerable fishes."

Proposed for listing on CITES Appendix II, which provides for regulation of international trade, are the oceanic whitetip shark, porbeagle shark, three species of hammerhead shark, and two species of manta ray. Another species, the freshwater sawfish, is proposed for uplisting from Appendix II to A
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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert

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