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CITES makes historic decision to protect sharks and rays
Date:3/14/2013

Bangkok, 14 March 2013. CITES plenary today accepted Committee recommendations to list five species of highly traded sharks under the CITES Appendices, along with those for the listing of both manta rays and one species of sawfish. Japan, backed by Gambia and India, unsuccessfully challenged the Committee decision to list the oceanic whitetip shark, while Grenada and China failed in an attempt to reopen debate on listing three hammerhead species. Colombia, Senegal, Mexico and others took the floor to defend Committee decisions to list sharks.

"We are thrilled with this result and the groundswell of government commitment that made it happen," said Amie Brautigam, Marine Policy Advisor for Wildlife Conservation Society. "These hard-fought decisions to secure CITES regulations on international trade in sharks and rays are based on a solid foundation built over two decades, and surmount the long-standing opposition to listing shark species that are taken at a commercial scale."

The oceanic whitetip shark, porbeagle, three species of hammerheads, and both manta rays all classified as threatened on the IUCN Red List -- will now be added to CITES Appendix II, which prompts permits to ensure exports are sustainable and legal. The only sharks listed under CITES previous to this meeting basking, whale, and white sharks are not taken in the high volumes associated with the newly listed sharks. The freshwater sawfish will be transferred from Appendix II to I, where all other sawfishes are listed, thereby completing a global ban on international commercial trade in these critically endangered species.

"We're grateful to proponent governments for recognizing the value of thriving shark and ray populations, and for championing sound proposals," said Ania Budziak, Project AWARE's Associate Director. "We're proud that the divers' voice has contributed to achieving this key milestone in shark and ray conservation."

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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert

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