Inclusion of the shark species in CITES Appendix II could reduce its overfishing
San José, Costa Rica (Septiembre 20, 2016). Environmentalists delivered a petition with 15,002 signatures to the presidents of Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua asking the Central American leaders to support the proposal to better protect silky sharks during the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) taking place on September 26-October 6 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Specifically Turtle Island Restoration Network and PRETOMA have called on Costa Rica’s President Solís to vote in favor of the proposal submitted by the Maldives to include silky sharks (Carcharhinus falciformis) in CITES Appendix II.
Species in CITES appendices are afforded special protection on a global level. In the case of silky sharks, their inclusion would mean that countries would have to scientifically prove that the amount of individuals their fishing fleets capture are sustainable and do not cause the species’ population to decline. If countries cannot provide this information, silky shark exports must be halted.
“In Central America, silky sharks are mainly caught in order to supply the Asian shark fin soup industry,” explained Randall Arauz, director of International policy for the Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Controlling the unsustainable extraction of silky sharks is the first step towards stopping their tragic population decline and initiating their recuperation.”
“Today we delivered a petition with the signatures of 15,002 supporters, demonstrating that the public cares about the conservation of silky sharks,” expressed Regina Domingo of the Spanish organization Nakawe Project. “Now we need Costa Rica to help control silky shark fisheries by adding the species to CITES”.
Two weeks ago 95% of the NGO members and 95% of the government members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) voted during the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii to adopt a resolution to include silky sharks in CITES Appendix II. The resolution was sponsored by the Costa Rican organization PRETOMA (IUCN member) and supported by Turtle Island Restoration Network and Nakawe Project.
Silky sharks are the most common shark captured by longline and purse seine fisheries using Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). The species represents 90% of all shark species caught by longline fisheries in the Eastern Pacific and the second or third most common species present in the Hong Kong shark fin market. Silky sharks are considered “Near Threatened” by the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. In the Central and Eastern Pacific, the species is considered to be even more at risk and therefor classified as “Vulnerable”. While the capture and retention of silky sharks is prohibited by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), there are no restrictions on their capture in the Eastern Pacific.
Environmentalists also support the inclusion of thresher sharks and devil rays in Appendix II of CITES.
Additional information about CITES and international support for the proposal:
Countries that support a silky shark Appendix II listing: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Dominican Republic, Egypt, European Union, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives, Mauritius, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.
Countries that support a thresher shark Appendix II listing: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Dominican Republic, Egypt, European Union, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Maldives, Mauritius, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Seychelles.
Countries that support devil rays Appendix II listing: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, European Union, Fiji, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives, Mauritius, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, USA.
CITES is an international agreement among 184 governments. Its goal is to assure that the international trade of wild plants and animals does not threaten their survival.