The outcome of the 14th Meeting of the Conference of CITES Parties (CoP14) hosted by the Netherlands in June 2007 was disappointing for the many organisations and coalitions, including PADI and Project AWARE, who worked hard to promote better shark fisheries management and support three shark proposals: the German’s proposal to list two imperilled shark species (Spiny Dogfish and Porbeagle sharks) under Appendix II and the U.S. and Kenya’s proposal to ban international trade in sawfish, shark-like rays considered critically endangered around the world. After a week of intense lobbying two out of the three proposals failed and fell short of the required two-thirds majority needed for adoption.
“We are deeply dismayed that Spiny Dogfish and Porbeagle sharks, two exceptionally vulnerable and heavily traded shark species have been denied the global safeguards that are so urgently warranted” commented Sonja Fordham, Shark Alliance Policy Director.
The Porbeagle shark is principally used for fresh, frozen and dried-salted meat across Europe. Spiny dogfish, amongst other small shark species, is used in fish and chips in the UK, where it is called Rock Salmon', and as a smoked meat delicacy in Germany, called 'Schillerlocken'. International trade of these sharks is not controlled and fisheries are ineffectively managed. Populations of both species, imported into the EU from countries like Canada, Norway and the US, have dramatically declined in the North Atlantic: by up to 95 per cent for the Spiny Dogfish and 89 per cent for the Porbeagle, in the last ten and forty years respectively.
A number of pro-whaling nations frustrated the meeting with endless points of order. As a result a number of pro-listing delegations had left by the time of voting for the spiny dogfish proposal. Many countries opposing the EU CITES listing proposals for sharks expressed concern over the lack of shark fishery management in European waters and used this as a reason to vote against the listings. During the debates, EU representatives underscored previous commitments to development of an EU Shark Plan by 2008.
“The 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of CITES has been a real roller coaster ride. Even though two shark proposals failed to be adopted, global awareness of the plight of sharks has been enhanced” said Sonja Fordham. “We welcome the widespread recognition, by the EU and other countries, that national and international shark conservation measures are urgently needed to recover spiny dogfish populations and prevent depletion of other species. It is imperative that the EU complete its overdue shark management plan, as a matter of priority, and that CITES continues its work to highlight and consider trade limitations for vulnerable shark species”.
Please support Project AWARE’s Protect the Sharks campaign and learn more about the latest activities of the Shark Alliance by visiting www.sharkalliance.org. We need your support to continue our work to protect the sharks.
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Notes to Editors:
Project AWARE is the dive industry’s leading non-profit organisation conserving underwater environments through education, advocacy and action. Project AWARE Foundation offices located in the Australia, United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and Switzerland combine efforts to conserve aquatic resources in 175 countries of the world. Project AWARE Foundation (International), formerly known as Project AWARE (UK), was established as a charity in 1999 specifically to offer regional assistance in the UK, Eire, Middle East, Africa, Russia, Mediterranean and the Nordic Regions. For more information on Project AWARE’s environmental initiatives visit www.projectaware.org.
PADI – the Professional Association of Diving Instructors is the largest recreational scuba diver training organisation in the world. PADI serves professional members and dive consumers in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information, please visit www.padi.com.