ISTANBUL (TURKEY)- Turkey has set new measures protecting endangered sharks and rays, like angel sharks and shortfin makos. The list of prohibited species for fishing in the mediterranean country now has 14 species of sharks and rays on it.

Already in 2012 the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), which includes Turkey, adopted a measure to end fishing and retention of 24 imperiled shark and ray species listed under a special protocol of the Barcelona Convention. Implementation at national levels, however, has been slow.

14 species of sharks and rays

Turkey now announced protection for 14 species of rays and sharks. The fish are being added to the government’s list of prohibited species, which until now included only five kinds of sharks.

Angel Shark. Photo_ Philippe Guillaume_Flickr Creative Commons
Angel Shark. Photo_ Philippe Guillaume_Flickr Creative Commons

A year after denouncing Turkey for the landing of 30 Endangered Giant Devil Rays, the Shark League is applauding the country for announcing these new measures. “Turkey’s new rules will help safeguard some of the most threatened sharks and rays in our oceans, including Critically Endangered angel sharks and Shortfin Makos,” said Ali Hood, Director of Conservation for the Shark Trust in a press release.

“We congratulate the Turkish government officials and conservation groups involved in this decision. It represents a significant step toward Mediterranean shark and ray conservation and a solid example for other countries in the region.”

Vulnerable species

Also Shark Advocates International is happy with extra protections for sharks in the Mediterranean. “We are particularly excited to welcome Turkey’s first protections for skates and rays, as these exceptionally vulnerable species are too often overlooked,” said Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International, a project of The Ocean Foundation.

shortfin mako. photo: jidanchaomian:flickr creative commons
shortfin mako. photo: jidanchaomian:flickr creative commons

“We are relieved that our calls to prevent another significant take of Giant Devil Rays have been heeded, and also pleased to see new protections for six other ray and skate species, especially the Mediterranean’s two Endangered guitarfishes.”

Read more on protection of sharks and rays in the Mediterranean in this IUCN report.