Shark, ray species given greater trade protection

Published on
October 11, 2016

Four species of shark and nine rays have been accepted into Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at the wildlife protection agreement’s 17th meeting, held in South Africa. The Appendix II listings mean that the international trade of these species will be regulated through a system of permits.

The silky shark, three species of thresher shark and nine mobula rays join shark and ray species listed in 2013 at the last CITES meeting. At the time, those listings were hailed as historic for marine conservation and feedback from countries at the meeting indicates their implementation has been largely successful.

The move has been warmly welcomed by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, although the NGO stressed that the listing is only part of the solution for protecting these species from over-exploitation.

“In 2013, there was a sea of change towards the listing of commercially fished marine species under CITES: today we saw no sign of the tide turning. The Appendix II listings for the silky shark, threshers sharks and mobula rays provide further shark and ray species with a much-needed platform for international co-operation to address unsustainable trade,” said Glenn Sant, TRAFFIC’s fisheries program manager.

“The listing of sharks and rays is one step for conservation, but it’s only paper protection unless it is backed up by sound implementation,” said Sant.

Also at the CITES meeting, delegates endorsed a document encouraging support for improved traceability measures for marine products.

“Traceability holds the key to strengthening the backbone of sustainable and legal trade in shark and ray products – it’s all about feeling confident that when you read the fine print it tells you the products are legal and sustainable,” said Sant.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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