Urgent Protection Proposed for four species of sharks

Juvenile dusky shark Photo: Flickr Creative Commons:Clifton Beard

Dusky sharks, whale sharks, blue sharks and angel sharks amongst the Threatened Animals Proposed for Urgent Protection under Global Conservation Treaty.

Once abundant, these species are now threatened by unprecedented destruction of their habitat, poaching, climate change and pollution. Proposals to afford greater protection to 35 species will be made at what is expected to be the largest wildlife conference of the year, CMS COP 12, which is scheduled to take place 23-28 October 2017 in Manila, Philippines.

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also known as CMS) is a global treaty protecting wildlife moving across international borders.  At the 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) more than 125 governments are expected to negotiate and potentially agree on coordinated measures on how to reverse the impacts already being felt on these animals and to ensure the species’ survival.

Whale sharkWhale sharks in Philippines

For the first time, a CMS COP will be held in Asia, in a region with many mega-diverse countries which are currently undergoing rapid development leading to pressures on migratory wildlife.  The COP will be hosted by the Government of the Philippines which has put forward several listing proposals including placing the Whale Shark on Appendix I as well as setting the theme of the COP “Their Future is Our Future – Sustainable Development for Wildlife and People”.

The theme links the conservation of migratory animals with global efforts underway to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals agreed by the United Nations in 2015.

The negotiations will revolve around placing these species on Appendix I of the treaty, which affords full protection and requires all countries to ensure that there is no taking or on Appendix II which foresees putting in place management strategies among countries for species that cross their borders.

Overfished species

The full list of species proposed for inclusion on the CMS Appendices is made up of 13 mammals, 16 birds and 6 fish species. Next to lions, leopards, chimpanzees,different bat species and Przewalski’s Horses are four species of sharks, the Whale Shark, the Dusky Shark, the Blue Shark, the Angelshark, and two species of rays: the Common Guitarfish and the White-spotted Wedgefish. They are being overfished with no regulatory impunity to the point where they are now highly threatened.

The overview of the listing proposals are available on the CMS website:http://www.cms.int/en/news/2017010-proposals-amend-appendices-conventionAnd the actual listing proposals will be made available shortly on www.cms.int

Blue shark Photo: Flickr Creative Commons:Willi

Blue shark. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons:Willi