Workshop on Shark Conservation in Yemen
Yemen Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) with kind support from the CMS Secretariat organized specialized training on prevention of wildlife trafficking on sharks and other CITES listed marine species. The training took place in Al-Mukalla city, Yemen, October 21-24, 2013.
Dr. Elsayed Mohamed, IFAW’s Middle East Regional Director said: “IFAW is happy to organize this training in collaboration with EPA in Yemen. IFAW and EPA had previously worked together on many activities for protecting wildlife and conservation. We hope this training will help officials to implement CITES regarding trade in sharks and provide greater protection to endangered marine species in Yemeni waters.”
It is estimated 70 million sharks worldwide are caught every year. Sharks are exploited mainly for their highly valued parts such as fins, teeth and jaws. The global fin trade is being driven by the high demand for shark fins in Far East markets. Shark fins are primarily used for shark fin soup, popular Chinese soup served at special occasions and that is considered a luxury.
Throughout the four-day training, fisheries officers learned about Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks, sharks listed in CMS convention, CITES and how it works, its importance, permits, appendices and sharks and marine species listed in CITES and their threats .
The training covered shark conservation, introduction from the sea, establishing shark catch quota, non-detrimental finding.
IFAW conducted practical training for officials on how to identifying shark species through their fins.
In March 2013, five shark species have been listed under appendix II during the 16th Conference of the Parties (CoP 16) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The scalloped hammerhead and Oceanic Whitetips sharks are largely targeted for their fin which means that once caught its fin is often cruelly cut off before it is thrown back into the sea dead or alive. The fin is then used to make soup. This market demand puts them in highest risks with devastating effect on the local shark populations and the marine ecosystem here.
The training is part of a worldwide capacity building initiative by IFAW that trains law enforcement officers in wildlife trafficking prevention in several countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean. To date, more than 1,600 governmental representatives at the forefront of this struggle have been trained since 2006. Recently, IFAW has launched Prevention of Wildlife Trafficking Training on Sharks and other CITES listed marine species to help the government to implement CITES and provide better protections for sharks.
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.