International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

March 14, 2013 10:20 ET

Jaws of Victory at CITES

BANGKOK, THAILAND--(Marketwire - March 14, 2013) - IFAW celebrated the historic decision today by the 16th Conference of the Parties (CoP 16) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to give greater protection to sharks.

"This is a tremendous development for sharks worldwide and for CITES. By basing trade quotas on firm scientific evaluations and measurement of the scale of the trade in shark fins we have a chance to save these sharks in their natural environment," said Dr. Ralf Sonntag, IFAW shark expert. "The whitetip shark is under severe threat from 'finning' and overfishing and as a result its numbers have declined by as much as 90%. In some areas, populations of the whitetip shark are now considered to be 'critically endangered'. What makes the Porbeagle different is that it is often killed for its meat - and it was Europeans who have eaten it to the point where it desperately need this protection. Smooth hammerhead and great hammerhead shark fins are very similar to those of the scalloped hammerhead shark which means that they are at risk of being targeted accidentally for their fins."

"As many as 100 million sharks of all species are now caught every year thanks to 'finning' and overfishing. It is well beyond sustainable levels and this decision gives us a chance to use science and trade data to keep ensure that trade does not trump the biodiversity of our oceans," said Sonntag.

"The move to protect marine animals is an important one for CITES, for these sharks and for other threatened marine species. And given how many tourists travel the world to swim or dive with these beautiful sharks it is also good for coastal communities who can rely on healthy oceans and healthy tourism revenue," Sonntag concluded.

Vote Totals:

Oceanic Whitetip - 44 to 93 with 4 abstentions
Hammerhead Sharks - 40 to 96 with 0 abstentions
Porbeagle - Consensus

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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