Turtle Island Promotes Shark Protections at a Major United Nations Wildlife Conference

Turtle Island is taking the fight to protect our oceans from Northern California to South Africa. This week, Todd Steiner, our executive director, and Randall Arauz, our international policy director, are in South Africa advocating on behalf of marine wildlife. Turtle Island is attending a major international wildlife conference, known as CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), to promote greater protections for endangered marine species, including two species of sharks and several species of rays.

Photo by Nestor Romero.

Photo by Nestor Romero.

The CITES is being meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa 24 September – 5 October and is being attended by government representatives from more than 120 nations, Turtle Island and fellow environmental organizations from around the world.

Turtle Island is working to increase protections for silky sharks, thresher sharks, and several species mobula rays (known as ‘devil rays’) by getting them listed on Appendix II of the CITES treaty. This technical classification encourages greater controls on the trade in species that are moving towards being threatened with extinction, and provides a measure of global protection for listed species.

Prior to the meeting, Turtle Island and our partners delivered a petition signed by over 15,000 global citizens to the Presidents of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and  Guatemala calling on them to support greater protections for silky sharks at the meeting. This action, as well as our recent win for silky sharks at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in Hawaii laid the ground work for CITES advocacy.  In Hawaii members voted overwhelmingly (95 percent of governments and 95 percent of NGOs) in favor of a resolution to support silky shark protections at CITES.

Turtle Island is proud to advocate for silky sharks (and other marine wildlife) on your behalf at these important meetings, and fight to get real protections in place. Turtle Island is honored to be recognized as an international organization by the United Nations, and as such is able to participate at various international and regional treaty organizations in addition to CITES and others. We hope that our consistent work, petitions and conversations will result in a safer oceans for sharks.