Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gateway on Sharks and Manta Rays Released!!!!

Good evening once again everyone and welcome to the first of a double blog! Yup tonight I will be posting two blogs. The first, this one clearly, will be focusing on sharks and manta rays as a pretty big thing has just happened for a few species. The second will be another update on the current battlefield that is Taiji.

On Friday November 22nd, 2013, CITES launched a web section to assist in installing effective measures to protect the new species who were listed a few months ago. The 179 parties involved now have less than 10 months to regulate international trade of oceanic whitetip sharks, scalloped hammerheads, great hammerheads, smooth hammerheads, porbeagles, and manta rays. The site can be viewed by following this link. The addition of these species of sharks and rays are the first since 2007 when the sawfishes became listed under CITES appendices I. They will be the first sharks and rays listed under appendices II since the great white shark was listed back in 2005. The only other sharks listed under the appendices are the whale and basking sharks, the two largest sharks in existence today.

Sharks and manta rays have both been exploited for years and now it seems that people are finally starting to wake up and smell the coffee sort to speak on the issues. Roughly 100 million sharks are being killed every year, largely for their fins, while an unknown number of manta rays are suffering the same fate for their gill rakers. Both the shark's fin and manta's gill rakers are rumored to have some sort of magical healing power that simply does not exist. These animals need our help more than ever before and I would like to take another moment to once again applaud CITES for listing these species under appendices II. For those of you who are unaware of what that means I shall inform you.

CITES works basically by regulating international trade of  specific species. According to appendix II guidelines are... 

  1. An export permit or re-export certificate issued by the Management Authority of the State of export or re-export is required.

    An export permit may be issued only if the specimen was legally obtained and if the export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species.

    A re-export certificate may be issued only if the specimen was imported in accordance with the Convention.
  2. In the case of a live animal or plant, it must be prepared and shipped to minimize any risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment.
  3. No import permit is needed unless required by national law.
Failure to follow these can result in big problems for the offending countries. Still though this is not enough. The fight to save these animals continues on until shark finning and the manta ray gill raker harvest are put to rest for good. The fisherman are getting more and more desperate as evidenced by the disturbing new practice of shark finning I talked about a few blogs ago. We are starting to turn the tide in this battle, but there is a long, long way to go! For more information and details on CITES and more in depth rules please visit

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