Dr. Carlos Drews, head of WWF’s CITES delegation, issued the following statement in reaction to today’s historic vote to regulate trade of several species of sharks and manta rays:
“This is a historic moment, where science has prevailed over politics, as sharks and manta rays are being obliterated from our oceans. This decision will put a major dent in the uncontrolled trade in shark meat and fins, which is rapidly destroying populations of these precious animals to feed the growing demand for luxury goods.”
“These timely decisions to have trade in sharks and manta rays regulated by CITES show that governments can muster the political will to keep our oceans healthy, securing food and other benefits for generations to come – and we hope to see similar action in the future to protect other commercially exploited and threatened marine species, both at the national and international level.”
Governments on Thursday reaffirmed the stronger protections for three species of hammerheads, in addition to porbeagles, oceanic whitetips, and two species of manta rays. The sharks and manta rays were listed on CITES’ Appendix II, seeking to regulate their international trade to sustainable levels.
Scalloped hammerhead sharks, Galapagos Islands; © naturepl.com / Doug Perrine / WWF-Canon