For Immediate Release
Turtle Island Restoration Network
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Costa Rica Hosts International Meeting to Protect the World’s Sharks
- Experts will agree on urgent measures to protect shark and ray populations from extinction.
- Costa Ricans call on their President to secure protection for hammerhead, silky and thresher sharks.
San José, Costa Rica (February 12, 2016) – Marine wildlife experts from more than 30 governments, the European Union, U.N. agencies, Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, nonprofits and academics will convene in Costa Rica’s capital next week, February 15-19, to agree on urgent measures to protect shark and rays from extinction. This discussion will take place during an important international convention known as the 2nd Meeting of Signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding of Migratory Sharks developed under the Convention on Migratory Species.
The Memorandum , which has been signed by 38 countries and the EU since 2010, was created to address the worrying downward trend exhibited by global shark and ray populations due to overfishing, destruction of habitats and migratory corridors, or entanglement in and ingestion of marine litter. At the upcoming meeting this February, the participating countries, experts and organizations will consider the listing 22 more shark and ray species under Annex I of the Memorandum. Listed species will gain greater conservation protections in the regions they inhabit, and countries with listed species within their borders will be required to help protect these shark and ray species.
The listing of Hammerhead, silky and thresher sharks is of relevance to Costa Rica. All three species are commonly caught by Costa Rican fishers, and are considered ‘threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
“Listing of these species under the Memorandum will provide Costa Rica with better tools to promote the regional conservation of these highly migratory species,” said Randall Arauz, International Director of Turtle Island Restoration Network, and President of the Costa Rican organization PRETOMA. “Time area closures along migratory corridors, the declaration of banned species, longline fishery temporary closures, an imposition of minimum catch size regulations…these are all measures that need to be put in place urgently in the Eastern Tropical Pacific region,” asserted Arauz.
“We were very satisfied to hear that Costa Rica will support all proposed shark and ray listings,” said an enthusiastic Mauricio Álvarez of the Costa Rican organization FECON. “Several bad decisions, such as allowing the exportation of over 900 kilos of endangered hammerhead shark fins early last year tarnished Costa Rica’s image, but there will be more opportunities to amend these past errors in the near future, and why not, maybe even win him a nomination for a ‘Shark Guardian Award’ in the future.”
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