Greater protection on sharks likely at UN conference

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Thursday, 26 October, 2017

IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare) is hopeful that after four days of intense negotiation, world governments are set to increase protection for a range of shark species at the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), a UN wildlife conference today, including the world’s largest fish, the whale shark.

By contrast, the CMS looks to be heading to a historical first-ever votes on species proposals, after countries failed so far to agree on new international collaboration to conserve lions, leopards, giraffes and chimpanzees.

“Many of the world’s sharks are in desperate need of protection; over-fishing, the relentless demand for shark fins and bycatch are just some of the threats facing sharks,” said Matthew Collis, Director of International Policy at IFAW.

At the 12th Meeting of the CMS Conference of the Parties (COP12) taking place in the Philippines, countries look set to agree to international collaboration to protect whale sharks, dusky sharks, angel sharks, the common guitarfish, white-spotted wedgefish and the world’s most heavily fished shark, the blue shark, in addition to agreeing to strictly protect whale sharks and their habitats.

For years, regional fisheries bodies have failed to take action to protect shark species. We  hope this new commitment by countries from around the world will signal the beginning of renewed efforts to control shark fisheries and trade,” said Mr Collis.

At least 74 shark species are considered endangered.  In reality that number is probably far higher given the lack of scientific data about shark numbers.

While the decisions still require final sign-off by the final session on the whole conference, there is no indication that any country will obstruct these new measures to protect sharks.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals 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 social at @action4ifaw and Facebook/IFAW.

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