Jaws of Victory at CITES

Jaws of Victory at CITES
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Bangkok, Thailand

IFAW celebrated the historic decision today by the 16th Conference of the Parties (CoP 16) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to give greater protection to sharks.

“This is a tremendous development for sharks worldwide and for CITES. By basing trade quotas on firm scientific evaluations and measurement of the scale of the trade in shark fins we have a chance to save these sharks in their natural environment," said Dr. Ralf Sonntag, IFAW shark expert. "The whitetip shark is under severe threat from ‘finning’ and overfishing and as a result its numbers have declined by as much as 90%. In some areas, populations of the whitetip shark are now considered to be ‘critically endangered’. What makes the Porbeagle different is that it is often killed for its meat – and it was Europeans who have eaten it to the point where it desperately need this protection. Smooth hammerhead and great hammerhead shark fins are very similar to those of the scalloped hammerhead shark which means that they are at risk of being targeted accidentally for their fins."

“As many as 100 million sharks of all species are now caught every year thanks to ‘finning’ and overfishing. It is well beyond sustainable levels and this decision gives us a chance to use science and trade data to keep ensure that trade does not trump the biodiversity of our oceans,” said Sonntag.

“The move to protect marine animals is an important one for CITES, for these sharks and for other threatened marine species. And given how many tourists travel the world to swim or dive with these beautiful sharks it is also good for coastal communities who can rely on healthy oceans and healthy tourism revenue," Sonntag concluded. 

Vote Totals:

Oceanic Whitetip - 44 to 93 with 4 abstentions

Hammerhead Sharks - 40 to 96 with 0 abstentions

Porbeagle - Consensus

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, www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter..


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Azzedine Downes,Executive Vice President for International Operations, VP of P
President and Chief Executive Officer
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Dr. Ralf (Perry) Sonntag, Country Director, Germany
Country Director, Germany
Erica Martin, Vice President of Communications
Vice President of Communications
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Isabel McCrea, Regional Director, Oceania
Regional Director, Oceania
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
Regional Director, North America
Jordi Casamitjana, Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Whales
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Sonja Van Tichelen, Regional Director, European Union
Regional Director, European Union
Tania McCrea-Steele, Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK