The Reason Sharks Are Endangered
The new IUCN Red List assessments classified all but one of the 16 warm-water flat shark species as Critically Endangered. With declines of more than 80 percent over the past 30 to 45 years, due primarily to overfishing. The updated assessments and peer-reviewed research comes four months after the IUCN announced an upgraded threat level to the Endangered. For the shortfin and longfin mako sharks with a 90 percent decline in the Atlantic over the past 75 years. These declines are in large part due to the value of their fins. Some sharks command the highest price of all fins in trade hubs such as Hong Kong.
What Is Being Done
The IUCN assessments add weight to the argument for trade regulations that will be debated. During the upcoming 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP18) of Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) starting August 17 in Geneva.
Three proposals that together would list shortfin and longfin mako sharks. 10 species of wedge fish and six species of giant guitarfish on Appendix II of CITES have drawn a record breaking number of supporters. With 67 governments co-sponsoring one or more of the listing proposals.
About The Sharks
“Shark species have a disturbing population decline and this can no longer be ignored. Shark species are now assessed as Endangered or Critically Endangered globally.” Said Luke Warwick, Associate Director of Shark and Ray Conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). “If we don’t act now, we will lose these animals and the unique role they have played in marine food webs. Ever since the time of the dinosaurs.”
WCS has joined forces with the Pew Charitable Trusts, Humane Society International, International Fund for Wild Animals. Not to mention the Florida International Univer\
with funding and management from Vulcan Inc. Also Shark Conservation Fund to support the listing proposals through education and advocacy outreach. According to this coalition that Warwick represents. Two-thirds of the governments in attendance will need to vote in favor of the progressive shark listing proposals.
Sharks are heavily traded for their high-value fins, mako sharks though are also traded for their meat. The sharks are fished and traded globally, yet have very low reproductive rates. This leaves their populations especially vulnerable to overfishing.
“The CITES conference is a crucial point in global efforts to save these sharks and rays,” said Warwick. “This might be our last chance to establish measures that drive protections and proper management for these species. Before they go extinct.”
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