The whale shark, the largest fish in the sea, is facing population declines and was reclassified as endangered last year by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). At the same time, the ecotourism value of these migratory sharks in places like Donsol Bay, Philippines, has made shark tourism a lucrative alternative to fishing. To address the declining population and preserve this tourism value, the Philippines government has protected whale sharks nationally. However, these protections may not be enough.
As the host of this year’s 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Philippines has proposed that whale sharks receive full protection wherever they are found. In addition to focusing on whale sharks, governments are also considering protections for at-risk species such as blue sharks, dusky sharks, white-spotted wedgefish, common guitarfish, and angel sharks. Governments have the opportunity to work together at CoP12 to prioritize the management of these shark species before it is too late.
For more information about global shark conservation efforts, visit http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/collections/2017/10/6-migratory-sharks-are-up-for-protections-at-cms-cop12.
This video was supported by a grant from Conservation Media Group.