Thailand is hosting the 16th conference of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Bangkok right now. Yet, the country plans to oppose some of the most endangered species on earth -- sharks and rays.
The exploding growth of China has had a devastating effect on sharks. How? Shark fin soup -- a traditional delicacy -- has become affordable for a lot more people so demand for shark fins has skyrocketed.
Five different shark species used in the soup or otherwise slaughtered for food are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as threatened with extinction. But as of now, none of them are protected by laws limiting the tad of their meat.
It's clear we need to do something. But Thailand's stubbornness and willful ignorance of the plight of sharks sets the wrong tone from the host country. Tell Thai government officials to wake up and support strong CITES protections for sharks.
I've heard recent reports that your government intends to oppose CITES protections for five species of critically endangered sharks. I am writing today to express my disappointment that, as the hose country, your government is setting such a hypocritical tone.
High demand for shark meat -- particularly fins for shark fin soup -- is driving many species of sharks to extinction. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists all these species at risk. Now, with 150 CITES nations meeting in Bangkok, is the time to protect sharks, not continue to ignore their plight.
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As the host country, I expect better from Thailand. Please change course and support CITES protections for sharks.
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