Today some groundbreaking decisions have been taken for the survival of sharks and manta rays throughout the globe at the 11th Conference of Parties of the Convention of the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) of Wild Animals in Quito, Ecuador.

6 species of sharks and 15 rays have been listed as proposed on the Appendix 2 of the Convention because their conservation status is considered by the member countries as critical and in need to be improved.

Therefore, the members agreed with this listing and to cooperate internationally to improve their conservation status.

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This is very important, because sharks don’t recognize borders made by humans and there is little point to protect them in one country and not in a neighboring one.

Another factor is that the listed species are being brought to the attention of the world; significant considering that their decrease has been ignored for decades resulting in the bad situation for them in our oceans.

At least 74 shark species are considered endangered, probably more considering that the data situation for many species is rather poor. Of the endangered species, populations are down to 20% or less of their original numbers with drastic effects on the ecosystem.

At least 6 of shark species and the 15 ray species are now better protected.

Even more important than the App2 listings were the additional inclusion of the 15 rays (the manta, 9 species of devil rays and 5 sawfish) into App1 of the convention, which means they will now benefit from full protections.

Most of these rays are threatened by extinction and some  population calculations are data deficient, they seem to disappear so fast that science can’t keep up with new population assessments.

The critical threat to these over the last  few years has been their gillrakers are on high demand from the Traditional Chinese Medicine community, and fishing has increased tremendously in this period of time.

This is a real global problem and only a global solution can help here, their listing on App 1 of CMS is the best solution thinkable, so I am very happy that decision-makers from around the world have used their power and their expertise to use their chance here in Quito to give them the full protection. That gives these species a fighting chance to actually survive the massive slaughter of the last couple of years.

Because there is no hidden reserve of these rays and they are disappearing fast due their exceptionally limited biological productivity; they can therefore be overfished even at very low levels of fishing mortality.

We need to be especially grateful to Fiji and Kenya for submitting the rays proposals and to Ecuador, Egypt, Costa Rica and the EU for bringing the other proposals forward.


Stay tuned for more updates on efforts to animals from #CMSCOP11 in Ecuador.

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Article source: IFAW

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