For Immediate Release

Joanna Nasar
Communications Manager
Turtle Island Restoration Network
Cell: (415) 488-7711

Quito, Ecuador (Nov. 4, 2014) – Turtle Island Restoration Network’s Executive Director Todd Steiner and Conservation Science Director Alex Hearn are in Quito, Ecuador attending the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) to lobby for the inclusion of several species needing greater protection including silky sharks, hammerhead shark, mobula ray’s and other marine species such as the polar bear.

This year a record number of species, 32 to be exact, are being proposed for protection and an astonishing 21 of those proposal relate to sharks, rays and sawfish.[1]

“We are here to provide expert scientific opinion and policy recommendations to protect and restore hammerhead and silky shark populations that migrate in and out of the sovereign waters of many nations,” said Steiner.

The convention focuses on the conservation of species that migrate between borders and brings together 80 different governments along with non-profits and experts to discuss strengthening conservation measures for migratory species.

On the table at this meeting are proposals to list species of sharks and rays in the CMS Appendices.  Participating members, just as Turtle Island Restoration Network, can propose the listing of threatened species on the CMS appendices. Each appendix has a different level of protections. Species listed on Appendix I are to have the highest level of protection.

Turtle Island hopes to see the listing of the following species in Appendix II: Thresher Sharks, Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, Great Hammerhead Sharks, Silky Sharks, and Polar Bears; and the following species in Appendix I and II: All species of Mobula Rays, all species of Reef Manta Rays, and Sawfish; and the rare Cuvier’s Beaked Whale in Appendix I. These CMS listing will help to ensure these species populations are protected during their migrations and safeguard them from destructive threats like industrial fishing practices, overexploitation, wildlife crime, marine debris and climate change.

Ecuador and Costa Rica proposed the listing of two species of sharks, the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark and the Great Hammerhead Sharks. “Sharks do not recognize political borders, so we are pleased to see that Ecuador is taking a leadership role in promoting their protection at the Convention,” said Hearn who has worked in the region for more than a decade.