A shot in the arm for shark conservation

Published on
February 23, 2016

Progress was made on the global conservation of migratory sharks at the second Meeting of the Signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks (Sharks MoU).

Held 15-19 February in San Jose, Costa Rica, the meeting saw Signatories agree to include 22 additional shark and ray species under the MoU, including five sawfish species, two species of manta rays, nine mobula ray species, silky sharks, two species of hammerhead sharks, and three thresher shark species. This brought the number of listed species from seven to 29 – a four-fold increase.

The European Commission (EC) has welcomed the move, saying it would strengthen cooperation amongst the Signatories to improve or restore the conservation status of these species. The listing is complemented by the adoption of an ambitious work program covering research and outreach activities, to provide the basis for future decisions and to encourage new states to become Signatories to the MoU.

The meeting also agreed on an ambitious work plan for the three years to come and the establishment of a Conservation Working Group to strengthen the science work under the MoU Sharks.  

In addition, Portugal became the 40th Signatory to the Sharks MoU, and seven new Cooperating Partners were accepted.

The Sharks MoU was the first intergovernmental treaty dealing specifically with shark conservation at a global level when it entered into force in March 2010.

The EU became a Signatory in 2011.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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