The parties have voted in favor of adding 54 species from the requiem shark family, as well as six shark species from the hammerhead family to Appendix II of the CITES convention. This means that both families of requiem sharks and hammerhead sharks can only be traded sustainably in the future. Exporting countries will have to prove their international trade is non-detrimental to their populations, that they have a legal origin, and that they have a CITES permit from the export country. If this decision is confirmed by the plenary that meets at the end of COP19, almost all internationally traded species of sharks will fall under the CITES agreement.
“This is a historic decision for the health of the oceans”, said Heike Zidowitz, shark and ray expert, WWF-Germany. “Sharks are an irreplaceable keystone species: They keep ecosystems intact thereby ensuring healthy fish stocks on which millions of people depend for nutrition. It is important that the parties don’t get swayed into changing their minds in the final vote at the tail end of the conference next week. WWF will continue working with relevant countries to improve management of their shark fisheries.”
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