Press Release

Shark Alliance Applauds Record Number of Proposals to Protect Sharks at CITES

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WASHINGTON — Matt Rand, coordinator of the Shark Alliance and director of Global Shark Conservation for the Pew Environment Group, today issued the following statement on the record number of shark proposals submitted for consideration to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international treaty designed to prevent trade in endangered species and regulate trade in species at risk.

“Consumer demand for shark products is putting vulnerable species at risk of extinction.  Tens of millions of sharks are killed annually for the shark fin trade alone, a rate that is unsustainable for many shark species.

Regulating international trade of threatened sharks is essential to ensure their long-term survival.  By supporting the proposals put forward to CITES by the United States and the European Union, and cosponsored by Palau, governments can begin protecting these important species.”

Background

Yesterday was the final day on which the 175 countries that are party to CITES could propose species to be listed for protection.  The proposals will be considered at the next Conference of the Parties to CITES, March 13 – 25, 2010 in Doha, Qatar.

  • The U.S. submitted proposals to protect six species of sharks by listing them on CITES Appendix II: scalloped, great, and smooth hammerhead sharks, dusky shark, sandbar shark, and oceanic whitetip shark. Palau, which recently announced the creation of a national shark sanctuary the size of France, has co-sponsored these proposals.
  • The European Union, and its 27 member states, submitted proposals to list spiny dogfish and porbeagle sharks on Appendix II.
  • Appendix II regulates (but does not ban) international trade of listed species.
  • Demand for fins for “shark fin soup” has increased the value of shark fins, which can sell for up to $300 per pound, depending on the species. Sharks are also targeted for their meat and liver.
  • Sharks are especially vulnerable to overfishing and slow to recover from depletion because they generally grow slowly, mature late and produce few young.
  • Only three species of sharks – white, basking and whale sharks – and sawfish are currently listed under CITES.

Contact

Sophie Hulme, +44 (0) 7973 712 869

Dan Klotz, 347-307-2866

The Shark Alliance is a coalition of 76 non-governmental organizations dedicated to restoring and conserving shark populations by improving shark conservation policy.  The Shark Alliance was initiated and is coordinated by the Pew Environment Group, the conservation arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization headquartered in the United States that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improving public policy, informing the public and stimulating civic life.

Media Contact

Appolonia Benoist

Associate, Communications

+32.2.2742860