Countries call for stronger protection for Sharks in line with the requirements of CMS and its Sharks MOU

Germany, USA and Ecuador outlined on Friday their progress towards protecting sharks, and meeting their international obligations under the CMS Sharks MOU. They were speaking at an event organized by the CMS Secretariat to promote the only global instrument on the conservation of migratory sharks and held in the margins of CITES COP16 on 8 March, 2013 in Bangkok.    

Germany noted that the Spiny dogfish is fully protected in EU waters, while Germany continues to undertake further research on the population dynamics of this and other vulnerable shark species in its waters.  The government has committed 300,000 Euros towards this work. Germany, a consistent supporter of further protection for sharks, outlined the EU proposal to list the Porbeagle shark on Appendix II of CITES.

The US government strongly encouraged countries who haven’t yet done so to join the CMS MOU, and interested organizations to become cooperating partners to the MOU. Ecuador and Brazil outlined the scientific basis for their proposal to list the Manta rays on Appendix 1 of CITES, which would be in line with its existing listing on both Appendices of CMS. Melanie Virtue of the CMS secretariat pointed out that 114 CITES Parties, which are also CMS Parties have already committed to protect these large, graceful rays through the “no take” provision of CMS Appendix I.

The Humane Society International is already a cooperating partner to the CMS Sharks MOU, and Rebecca Regnery, HSI’s US Director outlined their recent work in China, to raise awareness of the vital role sharks play in marine ecosystems.   

Sonja Fordham, director of Shark Advocates and member of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group made a number of recommendations to delegates, including for parties to join CMS and its Sharks MOU, for signatories to lead on initiatives to implement their conservation plan, and for CMS parties to ensure effective implementation of CMS obligations for sharks, especially the existing strict protection measures for Giant Manta rays, Basking, Whale and White Sharks.