For Immediate Release
Founder of PRETOMA
International Director at Turtle Island Restoration Network
Sharks & Ray Species Gain Greater Protections at
Internationally Convention in Costa Rica
- All 38 participating countries voted to unanimously protect the 22 proposed species of sharks and rays.
- Experts will now agree on measures to protect these species from extinction.
San José, Costa Rica (February 16, 2016) – Marine wildlife experts from more than 30 governments, the European Union, U.N., nonprofits and academics convened in Costa Rica’s capital yesterday for the start of an international meeting to agree on urgent measures to protect shark and rays from extinction. Today, delegates at the international convention, known as the 2nd Meeting of Signatories of the Memorandum (MoU) of Understanding of Migratory Sharks developed under the Convention on Migratory Species, voted unanimously to list 22 species of threatened sharks and rays 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.
This vote means that the participating countries will be required to coordinate their regional work and aim to stop the negative population trends these species are exhibiting, mainly due to overfishing. In the Eastern Tropical Pacific, overfishing and the lack of efficient controls by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) have been identified as the main threats for the survival of sharks and ray species.
Three shark groups are of relevance to Costa Rica: two species of hammerheads, three species of threshers, and the silky shark. These species are listed under the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, and are commonly caught by Costa Rican fishers to commercialize their fins in international markets and their meat in domestic markets. Manta rays and Mobula rays were also listed. These species are not commercialized in Costa Rica, but they are extremely valuable for the scuba dive tourism industry.
“Better times are coming for sharks,” said Randall Arauz, of the Costa Rican organization PRETOMA and International Director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “The signatories acknowledged by consensus that these species are in urgent need of conservation actions, its time to act,” urged Arauz.
“Regional cooperation is indispensable to ensure that all exploitation of migratory sharks is sustainable,” said enthusiastically Regina Domingo, collaborator of PRETOMA and founder of the Spanish organization Nakawe Project. “The MdE will provide countries and the RFMOs of better tools to implement policies towards the improvement of the conservation status of sharks,” said Doming.
About the Memorandum (MoU) of Understanding of Migratory Sharks
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.
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