CITES regulations for silky sharks entered into force yesterday

by | Oct 5, 2017

CITES regulations for silky sharks entered into force yesterday

Three species of thresher sharks offered the same protection

(October 5, 2017 – San José, Costa Rica)

As of yesterday, management regulations went into effect for four species of sharks (silky sharks and three species of thresher sharks) included in Appendix II  of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) during the XVII Conference of the parties (CoP) in Johannesburg, South Africa last year.  The measures require that any future export of these species be accompanied by a scientific analysis issued by an officially recognized scientific authority demonstrating that the extraction of these species for their international trade does not compromise their populations.  The critique can recommend management actions be implemented in order to improve species conservation, or it can recommend that all exports be stopped.  Without this analysis, it is illegal to export products derived from species listed in Appendix II of CITES.

“Silky sharks have been under uncontrolled, heavy fishing pressure for decades and in fact their catch rates and average sizes have drastically reduced during the last 20 years”, expressed Randall Arauz of the USA based organization Fins Attached Marine Research and Conservation.  “This species requires the technical closure of the fishery for at least three months a year along with the immediate application of catch restrictions for individuals that have not reached lengths of sexual maturity”, continued Arauz.

“Two species of thresher sharks are frequently landed by Costa Rican fishers – bigeye and pelagic threshers – but little is known about their population dynamics”, said Andy Bystrom, fisheries consultant for the Costa Rican organization CREMA.  “Enforceable CITES regulations have the potential to better protect and conserve these species’ populations”, continued Bystrom.

The new CITES scientific authority for fish species of commercial interest, the Costa Rican Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute (INCOPESCA), has yet to issue its scientific critique for these four species.

For more information:

Randall Arauz
Policy and Development – Fins Attached Marine Research and Conservation
+506 8708 8253 (Costa Rica)

Andy Bystrom
Fisheries Consultant – CREMA
+506 8764 4839 (Costa Rica)

CREMA ( is a Costa Rican NGO that works to conserve, manage and restore, populations of endangered marine wildlife, and is an elected member of the official Cocos Island Conservation Area Regional Council.

Fins Attached Marine Research and Conservation ( believes in the preservation of our world’s precious resources and that through the protection of the ocean’s apex predators marine ecosystem balance can be maintained for the benefit of all living things on earth.