Historic day at CITES as species survive plenary
It has been a historic day at the 16th meeting of the Conference of Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Bangkok, Thailand, as several species survived the notoriously dangerous plenary session that could have seen protections voted on by Parties over the last week reversed.
Humane Society International's Senior Program Manager Alexia Wellbelove released the following statement praising the final decision at CITES to list the oceanic whitetip shark, the porbeagle shark, three species of hammerhead sharks, and two species of manta rays, great and reef, on Appendix II. The inclusion of these species in the CITES appendices marks the first time that shark and manta ray species with high commercial value have been granted such protections in the 40-year history of the Convention.
"The adoption of all shark and manta ray proposals clearly demonstrates that CITES parties recognise the perils facing these species from unsustainable and inhumane trade in their fins, gills and meat. A majority of countries, including many developing coastal communities, have shown a willingness to take necessary action to protect these vulnerable marine animals. This marks a new beginning for CITES to play an increased role in regulating international trade in commercially valuable and overexploited marine species."
Ms Wellbelove also praised the listing of the freshwater sawfish, which was proposed by Australia, on Appendix I of CITES. "The adoption of this proposal will now mean that international trade in this critically endangered species is banned, not a moment too soon. We welcome this important decision taken by consensus by CITES parties."
Japan and Grenada attempted to reopen debate on the oceanic whitetip and hammerhead shark proposals respectively, but both failed to gain the required 1/3 majority to do so, before the proposals for the porbeagle shark, freshwater sawfish and manta rays were adopted without objection.