Countries participating in the world’s largest wildlife summit have voted for the first time to regulate the trade that kills millions of sharks each year to satisfy a wide appetite for shark fin soup.
In what marine conservationists have called a landmark decision, parties to the 186-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or quotes54 species of requiem sharks were voted to restrict or regulate commercial trade, including tiger, bull and bluefin sharks most targeted for the fin trade. Six small hammerhead shark species are also listed for protection along with 37 guitar shark species, which are shark-like fish.
Collectively, the three proposals would place nearly all species of shark internationally traded for their fins under CITES supervision and controls, up from just 25% prior to CITES CoP19.
The proposal, put forward by Panama, the host country, and supported by 40 other countries including European Union countries and the United Kingdom, would provide protection to sharks, who make up two-thirds of the species targeted by the fin market. It will require countries to ensure legality and sustainability before allowing the export of these species.
Most sacred sharks are critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list.
“Now, finally, the unsustainable shark fin trade will be fully regulated,” said Luke Warwick, director of wildlife conservation for sharks and rays. maintain Community.
“These two families make up more than half of the shark fins traded annually in the half-billion-dollar trade,” Warwick said. He added that the new protections would give them a chance to recover and would “forever change how the world’s ocean predators are managed and protected”.
Studies indicate 37% of Types of sharks and rays Sharks that live in the oceans are facing extinction by more than 70% in the world Only 50 years old. Scientists say these declines are a direct result of overfishing and Unregulated international tradecaused by a lack of national and international management.
The proposal did not pass without opposition. Japan submitted an amendment to remove 35 shark species that were neither endangered nor endangered from the original proposal, while Peru requested that the blue shark be removed. Both amendments failed to gain the necessary votes and after two hours of discussion the initial proposal was adopted without any changes. All Cites decisions are binding on the states parties who will then have one year to adapt their regulations for catching these sharks.
“Sacred sharks are among the most traded but least protected species,” said Diego Jimenez, director of conservation policy for the nonprofit SeaLegacy. Approximately 70% of the requiem shark family is already endangered.
The household-level listing will assist customs and border control officials with enforcement, Jimenez said, as nearly every shipment of shark fin requires the correct Cites permit or certification. It could be a game changer, he said, shifting the percentage of trades Cites manage from 25% to 70%.
But critics, including marine biologists, say the inclusion of Cites could have the opposite effect, driving up the hidden market price for fins and meat and increasing illegal fishing for sharks.
In 2021, fin imports from Ecuador to Peru — the main source of fins in the Americas — will reach double pre-pandemic levels, according to research by Oceana Peru. Of the 300 tons of dried fins that came from Ecuador, more than 160 tons came from a species included in Cites, the critically endangered marine thresher shark, which targets its exceptionally long fins.
“These levels of trade occur despite the fact that this species’ international trade is regulated by CITES,” said Alicia Kuroiwa, director of habitats and endangered species for Oceana Peru.
Kuroioa said that case, along with other irregularities in shark fin exports from Peru to Hong Kong, had been brought to the attention of the CITES Standing Committee for “further investigation and recommendations to the two countries.”
It added that violating Cites regulations could be punished by the “temporary closure of trade in all Cites-listed species that would be extremely dangerous for Peru.”
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