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CITES CoP17: Conservationists Cheer Progress for Sharks & Rays

Silky Shark, Thresher Sharks, and Devil Rays Protected on CITES Appendix II

Countries Must Now Finalize Decisions in Plenary Later This Week

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CITES CoP17: Conservationists Cheer Progress for Sharks & Rays

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (October 3, 2016) – In a highly anticipated Committee session today, proposals to list devil rays, thresher sharks, and the silky shark under CITES* were supported by more than the two-thirds of voting Parties required for adoption.  Conservationists are delighted yet mindful that Committee decisions must still be confirmed in the final CITES plenary session later this week.

“Assuming these decisions stand, this is a big win for all these species of sharks and rays as governments around the world will now have to act to reduce the overfishing that threatens them,” said Andy Cornish of the WWF.

Nine devil rays, the three thresher sharks, and the silky shark were proposed by a variety of countries for listing under CITES Appendix II, which would result in international trade restrictions to ensure exports are sustainable and legal.

“We are elated by the resounding support for safeguarding the devil rays, some of the oceans’ most vulnerable animals,” said Sonja Fordham of Shark Advocates International.

Ali Hood of the Shark Trust noted, “While we’re hopeful that this important decision for silky sharks will stand, we stress that complementary fishing limits are key to the effective conservation.”

“We are grateful that governments recognize the value of healthy thresher shark populations for both fisheries and tourism,” said Ania Budziak of Project AWARE.

CITES Parties will reconvene in Plenary to begin finalizing decisions on Tuesday.

“We urge governments to endorse the Committee decisions and put in place these vital international trade controls, as a matter of priority,” added Amie Brautigam of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Earlier in the meeting, Parties agreed steps aimed at improving the traceability of shark and ray products, which is fundamental to CITES implementation. Countries’ interventions reflected a growing recognition of the vital role CITES can play in shark and ray conservation by enhancing data, improving management, and ensuring sustainable international trade.

Project AWARE, Shark Advocates International, Shark Trust, TRAFFIC, Wildlife Conservation Society, and WWF are working in partnership to promote the ray and shark listing proposals, with support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.orghttp://www.facebook.com/TheWCShttp://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia  Follow: @thewcs. 

CITES
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.CITES regulates international trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The  CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable. CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973. The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 24 September to 5 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Center. South Africa offered to host CoP17 at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Bangkok, March 2013), which was accepted by acclamation. Following discussions with the South African authorities and the finalization of an open bid process, the host city was announced through a joint media release on 19 June, 2015.

  • CITES CoP17: Conservationists Cheer Progress for Sharks & Rays
  • CITES CoP17: Conservationists Cheer Progress for Sharks & Rays