IFAW to host a workshop about ways to protect sharks in Arabian Waters

© Alan James
Saturday, September 29, 2012

Concerned about the conservation of sharks in the Arab Region, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) will organize and lead Shark Conservation in Arabia Workshop in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water and Shark Quest Arabia.

Global studies show that some species of sharks are under threat because of the practice of shark finning, which can be considered the major threat to the survival of sharks around the world. It is estimated that more than 70 million sharks are killed every year mostly for their fins.

The global fin trade is a multi-billion dollar business and 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. IFAW opposes shark finning because it is cruel and unnecessary.

Dr Elsayed Mohamed, IFAW’s Middle East Regional Director said: “IFAW aims to draw attention to the threats sharks face and call for shark conservation by bringing national, regional and international experts together to focus on what can be done to save sharks.”

More than 60 delegates from UAE, KSA, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti and Egypt will gather for Shark Conservation in Arabia Workshop in City Seasons Suites Hotels, Dubai City, UAE, October 8-11, 2012.

“The workshop serves as a platform to show the tremendous wealth that is surrounding people in the region in the form of sharks.” said Dr Ralf Sonntag, Director of IFAW’s Germany Office. “There is no hidden reserve of sharks and they are disappearing fast. Most sharks have an exceptionally limited biological productivity and can therefore be overfished even at very low levels of fishing rate.”

“The workshop has been designed to share the latest information and become better prepared to the next CITES CoP meeting in Thailand,” said Jonathan Ali Khan, Project Leader at Shark Quest Arabia. “The support and encouragement we have received from the UAE's Ministry of Environment and Water to conduct this workshop confirms my firm belief that this region has the potential and capacity to not only takes control of their shark populations, but also to set an example to the rest of the world.”

The experts represent officials from the environmental, agricultural and fisheries ministries, shark specialists and researchers, CITES management authorities, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Shark Specialist Group, United Nation's Environment Program's Convention for Migratory Species and Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment, Protectorate of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden and shark management policy experts.

Throughout the four-day workshop, national, regional and international experts will overview sharks’ species, fishing, conservation measures and national legislation in each country. They also will discuss and identify how Arabia can manage and protect shark populations in their waters and suggest shark fishery management plans.

Dr. Sonntag added: “Shark finning is not only a huge conservation issue it is also against all international standards of animal welfare because many sharks are alive when they are thrown overboard with their fins cut off. Shark finning is a global problem and global problems need global legislation.”

Notes to Editors –
IFAW’s team in Dubai will provide regular updates from the workshop. To view blogs and keep up with the latest updates visit www.ifaw.org and Register at www.ifawimages.com to download images and videos.

About IFAW (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.

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