Shark Savers and Coalition of Conservation Organizations Call for New CITES Listings

Posted on June 12, 2012
Written by: Shark Savers
Tags: Manta Ray of Hope Campaign 

Mary-OMalley-Pregnant-Manta-7050.jpgShark Savers and the Manta Ray of Hope Project, in partnership with The Manta Trust and Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, is urging the United States to support increased international protections of manta and mobula rays and several species of sharks via the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

In response to the Fish and Wildlife Services’ request for comments in the Federal Register (Vol. 77, No. 70, April 11, 2012: FWS-R9-IA-2011-0087; 96300–1671–0000 FY12–R4), on proposed CITES listing for the up-coming Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP16) the partnership requests that the appropriate United States’ government agencies and representatives propose and/or support necessary amendments to the CITES Appendices to protect populations of sharks and rays that are under increasing pressures from international trade in shark fins and ray gill rakers.

Based on newly compiled research, including the Manta Ray of Hope Project’s comprehensive 2011 study “The Global Threat to Manta and Mobula Rays” documenting the status of manta and mobula rays, the request for consideration includes specific data on the increased fishing pressure and trade impacting mobulid ray populations globally; and that, therefore Manta spp. (Manta birostris, Manta alfredi) clearly qualify for inclusion on Appendix II in accordance with Annex 2a (criteria A and B) Qualifying Criteria (Conf. 9.24 Rev. CoP15), with some populations also meeting the criteria for inclusion on Appendix I.

The partnership also notes, importantly, that there are recent examples of broad international consensus regarding the vulnerability of these species such that:

  • New IUCN Red List assessments released late in 2011 now categorize Manta birostris and Manta alfredi as Vulnerable with declining population trends.
  • In November 2011, Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) delegates voted overwhelmingly in favor of Ecuador’s proposal to list M. birostris on its Appendices I and II.

RD_silky.jpgAdditionally, with detailed citations of the scientific literature in support of species declines, the partnership calls for CITES listing of the following shark species with an emphasis on species most prevalent within the shark fin trade – noting that all are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Endangered, Vulnerable or Near Threatened and are faced with declining populations:

Bigeye thresher shark (Alopias superciliosus), Common thresher shark (A. vulpinus), Pelagic thresher shark (A. pelagicus), Oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus), Scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), Great hammerhead shark (S. mokarran), Smooth hammerhead shark (S. zygaena), Silky Shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), Longfin mako shark (Isurus paucus), Shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), Gulper sharks (Centrophorus), Sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus), Dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus), Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus)

The complete letter and report to the United States Fish and Wildlife service is available here.