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Thousand of Activists Call for Protection of Silky Sharks at U.N. Wildlife Conference
by Joanna McWilliams (joanna [at] tirn.net)
Wednesday Sep 21st, 2016 11:17 AM
This week conservationists delivered a petition signed by 15,002 global citizens to the Presidents of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala calling on them to support greater protections for silky sharks at an upcoming world wildlife conservation meeting.
For Immediate Release

CONTACT:
Joanna McWilliams
Communications Director
Turtle Island Restoration Network
Cell: (415) 488-7711
joanna [at] tirn.net

Randall Arauz
PRETOMA/Costa Rica
International Policy Director
Turtle Island Restoration Network
Cell in Costa Rica (506) 8344 3711
rarauz [at] tirn.et
Thousand of Activists Call for Protection of Silky Sharks at U.N. Wildlife Conference in South Africa

A CITES Appendix II Listing Could Reduce Overfishing of silky Sharks
International Policy Director Randall Arauz delivering petition signatures in Costa Rica

International Policy Director Randall Arauz delivering petition signatures in Costa Rica.

San Jose, Costa Rica (September 21, 2016) – This week conservationists delivered a petition signed by 15,002 global citizens to the Presidents of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala calling on them to support greater protections for silky sharks at an upcoming world wildlife conservation meeting.

Conservationist are looking at the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting, which takes place from September 26 – October 6, in Johannesburg, South Africa as an opportunity to safeguard these open-ocean sharks.

Specifically, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Territorios Vivos, Asociaciòn Rescate y Conservaciòn de Vida Silvestre, Paso Pacífico and PRETOMA are calling on Central American Presidents to support a proposal from the Maldives to list the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) under Appendix II of CITES. Listing a species provides it with special protections globally. In the case of the silky shark, fishing nations would need to provide scientific evidence on the sustainability of their extraction for export. If that information is not provided, then the international trade of the species is barred.

“Silky sharks in the region are mainly caught to supply the shark fin soup industry in Asia,” explained Randall Arauz, International Policy Director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Controlling this unsustainable extraction is the first step to stop the silky shark’s tragic declining trend and initiate the recovery of the species.”

Earlier this month, members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), gathered at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, voted overwhelmingly (95 percent of governments and 95 percent of NGOs) in favor of Resolution 23, which called on its members to an Appendix II listing under CITES. The resolution was advanced by IUCN Costa Rican member PRETOMA, with the support of Turtle Island Restoration Network and Nakawe Project. It is advisory that will be taken into consideration at CITES.

Silky sharks are the most common shark caught incidentally by tuna longline and purse seine fisheries throughout their range, particularly those using fish aggregating devices. Silky sharks are the most-caught species of shark in longline fisheries in the Eastern Pacific, constituting up to 90 percent of the total catch of sharks. The species ranks 2nd or 3rd in Hong Kong shark fin markets. Silky sharks are classified as ‘near threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In the Central and Eastern Tropical Pacific silky sharks are even more endangered and classified as ’vulnerable.’ Whilst the capture and retention of this species is banned in the Central and Western Pacific by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and in the Atlantic by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), its catches in the Eastern Pacific remain unencumbered.

Conservationists are also supporting proposals to list thresher sharks and mobula rays under Appendix II of CITES.

Background Information on CITES & International Proposal Support:
Countries that support a silky shark listing under Appendix II: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Comoros, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, the European Union, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives, Mauritania, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Ukraine.

Countries that support a thresher shark listing under Appendix II: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Comoros, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, the European Union, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Maldives, Mauritania, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Ukraine.

Countries that support a mobula ray listing under Appendix II: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Comoros, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, the European Union, Fiji, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives, Mauritania, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and the United States of America.

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Currently CITES is comprised of 184 members.

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Turtle Island Restoration Network works to mobilize people and communities around the world to protect marine wildlife, the oceans and the inland waterways that sustain them. Join us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. SeaTurtles.org