FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TORONTO (October 18, 2022) — World leaders have a rare opportunity to increase protection for endangered and threatened sharks and rays now until CITES CoP19 in Panama. One CITES proposal includes requiem sharks, a family of sharks with species like the silky and oceanic white tip shark, that if protected by trade could help end the global fin trade. Requiem sharks make up the majority of the shark fin and meat trade. As one of the least regulated families, this family of sharks also are the most threatened with 68% of requiem sharks already listed as Endangered and Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
In the last five decades, the global oceanic shark and ray populations have decreased by 71% — fuelled by overfishing and the unregulated trade in shark fins, meat, liver oil (squalene), and cartilage. The high value shark fin trade and growing market for other shark products are driving illegal fishing and some of the most egregious human and labour rights abuses found on board these vessels. Adopting shark and ray CITES proposals provides a global solution for helping to regulate the fin trade.
“CITES is a great venue to put a spotlight on what is happening to global shark populations. Governments must act fast before it is too late if species are to survive. The data is indisputable. Now there has to be cooperation on a global scale. The data is meaningless if nothing is done to enact greater protection laws. Further, when dealing with the biology of sharks, a precautionary approach must be adopted. Sharks simply cannot reproduce fast enough to keep up with the commercial fisheries. CITES members must be held accountable for the decisions they make and countries must be held accountable for their lack of enforcement,” stated Alex Antoniou, CEO of Fins Attached: Marine Research andConservation.
“As with every effort aimed to protect wildlife in the ocean, we have concerns about whether the CITES recommendations are enough to address the illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. We applaud the incorporation of the requiem shark proposal to include a family wide listing into Appendix II, proposed by Panama. We must support this work and continue to add other shark species to the CITES list. This will be challenging to implement effectively when illegal fishing will continue to be fuelled by the world's market demand,”said Jorge Serendero, CEO of For the Oceans.
“Canada is a celebrated leader in shark protection as the first G20 nation to ban the import and export of shark fins in 2019. The Canadian government now has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to protect sharks facing extinction while supporting the recovery of many at-risk populations,” said Lana Brandt, Executive Director of the Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation. “There are still gaps in Canadian regulation allowing shark meat and liver oil (squalene) to enter our market that could be addressed by listing the entire family of requiem and hammerhead sharks.”
Oceans provide most of the planet’s oxygen and food security for billions of people. Healthy oceans are one of our best tools for tackling climate change, so it only seems obvious that we should protect global shark populations. Waiting another three years could be too late. Add your voice to the petition here.
For more information or a media interview, please contact:
email@example.com + (506) 88759393
info@SharkwaterFoundation.com +1 (778)-833-2954
One Ocean WorldwideCoalition is a global initiative dedicated to creating education programs and initiatives that tackle some of the greatest issues the oceans face, including illegal fishing and climate change. The Coalition’s objectives also support species protection, improving knowledge of marine migratory species in protected areas, and scientific research for data driven conservation efforts. Founding members of the Coalition include Fins Attached Marine Research and Conservation, For the Oceans Foundation, Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation, and United Conservationists.