Government delegates attending the meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted today to list porbeagle sharks in Appendix II of the treaty, but rejected protections for three other vulnerable shark species. An Appendix II listing requires exporting countries to ensure that international trade is legal and will not harm the survival of these species.
"Sharks have been on our planet for more than 400 million years," said Matt Rand, director of global shark conservation for the Pew Environment Group. "But if governments do not act, many shark species will not last - even iconic species like the hammerheads. Most species reproduce late in life, have few young and simply do not have the capacity to recover from commercial overfishing and global trade."
Four shark proposals were considered at the CITES meeting, taking place in Doha, Qatar:
"The shark fin trade which is responsible for the killing of up to 73 million sharks each year remains largely unregulated," said Rand. "Today's votes only help porbeagle populations. Even with scientific data showing that many shark populations are plummeting, international fisheries management bodies and now international conservation forums mostly favor commerce over protection. Individual nations need to answer the call to protect threatened species if sharks are to remain in our oceans."