Wildlife trade body confirms protection for sharks
The world's main body regulating the wildlife trade decided Thursday during the final day of its meeting in Bangkok to protect five shark species made scarce because of human consumption of fins and meat.
The oceanic whitetip, three hammerhead species and the porbeagle would only be able to be bought and sold if the trade is certified as sustainable under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
The regulations would go into affect in 18 months to help protect the whitetip and scalloped and great hammerhead sharks, which are listed as endangered species, and the smooth hammerhead and porbeagle, which are listed in the more critical vulnerable category.
Soup made with the fins of whitetip and hammerheads is a delicacy in many East Asian countries while the porbeagle is highly valued for its meat in Europe, where it is the largest marine predator.
"This is a tremendous development for sharks worldwide," said RalfSonntag, a shark expert with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. "... The whitetip shark is under severe threat from’finning’ and overfishing, and as a result, its numbers have declinedby as much as 90 per cent" in some areas.//DPA