Success! Manta Rays Win CITES Protection
Manta rays and five special shark species will be banned from international trade thanks to the votes of delegates to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Sharks have been heavily targeted for their fins and mantas for their gill rakers, despite their proven value to ocean ecosystem health and to global eco-tourism.
The CITES decision is a victory for conservationists around the world, including the thousands of Care2 members who signed petitions demanding that countries stop overfishing manta rays and asking for the establishment of an international trade ban.
CITES is the only international treaty with the power to designate which species are in sufficient danger of extinction to warrant protection from trade. Just days ago, at the 16th Conference of the Parties in Bangkok, Thailand, delegates from 178 countries voted to list the following species of sharks and rays under CITES’ Appendix II, which is reserved for species necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid “utilization incompatible with their survival.”
- Oceanic whitetip shark; proposed by Brazil, Colombia and United States of America with 92 countries voting in support of listing them for protection.
- Scalloped hammerhead shark, great hammerhead shark and smooth hammerhead shark; proposed by Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Honduras and Mexico with 91 countries voting in support of listing them for protection.
- Porbeagle; proposed by Brazil, Comoros, Croatia, Denmark and Egypt with 93 countries voting in support of listing them for protection.
- Manta rays (all species); proposed by Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador with 96 countries voting in support of listing them for protection.
For years we’ve reported on the ongoing fight to stop shark finning all over the world. Through the hard work and dedication of our members, we’ve helped to spread the word about declining ocean health and the important role of all sea creatures in a healthy, diverse ecosystem. The CITES move indicates that this pressure is working: governments are waking up to the devastating effects of over-fishing and shark finning, and taking action to stop it.
“The addition of these seven shark and manta species to CITES Appendix II are an important step forward in stemming the incredibly destructive trade,” added Mary O’Malley, co-leader of Manta Ray of Hope Program and a Shark Savers’ Director. “We are so thankful to the international community of CITES delegates for protecting these important and vulnerable species, and to the host country of Thailand for speaking in favor of listing mantas.”
Image via Thinkstock