"The international trade in shark and ray products, including fins, meat, and other body parts, is driving shark and ray fisheries around the world, and most of these are unmanaged or only minimally managed," said Dr. John Robinson, WCS's Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science. "Lack of controls on fisheries and international trade puts species at risk but also jeopardizes sustainable fisheries, ecosystems, and food security. A commitment by the international community is crucial. We ask all concerned to join us in ensuring the right actions are taken on behalf of sharks and rays at CITES in March 2013."
In addition to efforts to enlist support for CITES listings, WCS and others have sponsored several motions at the congressthe world's largest conservation eventcalling for a range of measures to improve fisheries management and conserve sharks and rays. Unlike many bony fish species, most of these cartilaginous fishes are long-lived, late-to-mature, and produce few young, which makes them particularly vulnerable to overfishing and their populations slow to recover once depleted.
WCS is a co-sponsor of a motion to limit catches of mako sharks and hammerhead sharks. A third motion calls for review of all shark and ray species on IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species for possible CITES regulation.
"We estimate that many millions of sharks are killed annually through both legal and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing for the trade in fins, the prime ingredient in shark fin soup," said Dr. Rachel Graham, director of WCS's Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Program. "The high price for fins has caused the global shark fishery to expand far beyond what is sustainable. The need for international regulation and enforcement has never been greater."
WCS is committed to saving sharks as part of
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Wildlife Conservation Society