As of yesterday, management regulations went into effect for four species of sharks (silky sharks and three species of thresher sharks) included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) during the XVII Conference of the parties (CoP) in Johannesburg, South Africa last year.
The measures require that any future export of these species be accompanied by a scientific analysis issued by an officially recognized scientific authority demonstrating that the extraction of these species for their international trade does not compromise their populations’ health.
The scientific analysis for each specie can recommend management actions be implemented in order to improve species conservation, or it can recommend that all exports be stopped.
Without such a written evaluation in place, it is illegal to export products derived from species listed in Appendix II of CITES.
“Silky sharks have been under uncontrolled, heavy fishing pressure for decades and in fact their catch rates and average sizes have drastically declined during the last 20 years,” expressed Randall Arauz of the U.S.-based organization Fins Attached Marine Research and Conservation. “This species requires total fishing bans for at least three months a year, along with the immediate application of catch restrictions for individuals that have not reached lengths of sexual maturity”, continued Arauz.
“Two species of thresher sharks are frequently landed by Costa Rican fishers – bigeye and pelagic threshers – but little is known about their population dynamics,” said Andy Bystrom, fisheries consultant for the Costa Rican marine conservation organization, CREMA. “Enforceable CITES regulations have the potential to better protect and conserve these species’ populations,” continued Bystrom.
For more information on CITES and these regulations, contact Randall Arauz, Fins Attached Marine Reserach and Conservation, <[email protected]>.