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12 February 2010 - Australian efforts ensure progress on international shark conservation      

Australian efforts ensure progress on International Shark Conservation 

12th February 2010 

Humane Society International (HSI) today welcomed the efforts taken by Australia at a meeting in the Philippines this week to negotiate an exciting new conservation agreement for migratory sharks. The agreement is to be a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Migratory Sharks under the UN Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS). HSI congratulates Minister Garrett for taking such positive global action on behalf of a number of threatened sharks.

Australia’s representative at the meeting oversaw an important working group at the meeting which succeeded in getting consensus on one of the major issues still to be resolved under this international agreement – which species were to be covered by the international agreement. HSI representatives at the meeting, from our Australian and US offices, worked hard in the margins of the meeting to ensure that there was strong support for the inclusion of all seven species of shark currently on the CMS Appendices.  These sharks are the great white, basking, whale, porbeagle, shortfin mako, longfin mako, and spiny dogfish (Northern hemisphere populations) sharks. During the meeting, Australia changed its position of supporting only three species to a stronger position of supporting inclusion of all seven species within the agreement.

Australia’s leadership at this meeting has ensured that our migratory sharks can be assured that action will take place internationally towards their protection” said Alexia Wellbelove of Humane Society International. “HSI looks forward to working with the Government towards concerted conservation action on migratory sharks in Australian waters and beyond.”

Migratory sharks are inherently vulnerable to a number of threats, particularly fishing activities. Coordinated international action is required in order to address these threats and work to improve these species conservation status. Given that countries have recognised the need for action on these species through their listing under the Convention, it is right that they are also included within the international agreement that is the MoU.

The meeting in Manila is due to conclude later today when it is expected that the Memorandum of Understanding will be concluded and opened for signatories.

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