Yemen hosts first ever Middle East shark conservation training workshop
Ever since the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) started combating the heavy exploitation of sharks around the world, bringing aboard Yemen to embrace shark conservation has always been a priority.
Years later, we have made considerable progress in this developing country on the Arabian Peninsula, which has more than 2500 km of sea coast and has had bouts of political unrest.
Yemen had at first supported the full listing of sharks in CITES, but placed reservations on the three hammerhead sharks species. Yemeni officials said they needed more time to build capacity to implement the proposed regulations on the hammerhead.
IFAW made a plan for a series of capacity-building workshops with fisheries officials to inform them about different international treaties implemented on sharks. They will include the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), its agreement regarding conservation of migratory sharks, and background on all the recent CITES decisions on listing shark species.
In cooperation with the Yemen Environment Protection Authority and kind support from the CMS Secretariat, IFAW’s Middle East and North Africa office organized the first capacity-building training workshop in the MENA region on sharks in Al Mukalla.
The workshop, taking place from 21-24 Oct. 2013, was under the patronage of H.E. Abdu Razaz Saleh, the Minister of Water and Environment, and officially opened by Dr. Khaled Al Shibany, the General Director of the Environment Protection Authority.
Some of the workshop subjects covered included the following:
- Introduction to CMS convention and the main CMS listed species
- Memorandum of understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks and shark listed species
- CITES permits
- Establishing shark catch quotas
- Identification of CITES listed sharks, mantas and their products in international trade
- National and regional legislation for shark catch regulation
- Participant recommendations on ways for improving implementation of legislation
After the workshop, my IFAW colleagues left Yemen, and I stayed two more days to meet Saleh.
He thanked IFAW and the CMS for their support on the capacity building, referred to Yemen’s future action plan to protect marine species, and asked IFAW and CMS to continue our support.
He promised to join the CMS memorandum of understanding on conservation of migratory sharks.
We’re hoping that Yemen will go ahead in developing the necessary mechanisms for the sustainable use of sharks and other marine species.
DID YOU KNOW? Yemeni catch shark for local consumption, but much shark fin is exported to the Far East to meet the high demand for shark fin soup.