Shark and ray populations have been decreasing at an alarming rate, as hundreds of millions of sharks and rays are killed each year for their fins, gill plates, teeth, cartilage, meat and oil. So far the international trade of most species has been unregulated, but this fall we have a chance to help protect some of these shark and ray species that are plummeting.
Three species of Thresher sharks, one Silky shark species, and nine Mobula ray species (i.e. Devil rays) have been proposed to be listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) during the CoP17 meeting this September/October in South Africa.
During the last international meeting in 2013 both manta ray species and five species of sharks, including Hammerheads, were listed under the CITES. Due to these regulations the targeting of other Elasmobranch species has increased, and fisherman that were targeting Manta rays, for example, are now switching to Mobula ray exploitation. Mobula rays are slightly less know and often misidentified by the public as Manta Rays, and they truly are very similar in many ways and thus need the same amount of protection as Manta rays. Mobula Rays as well as the Thresher and Silky sharks have exceptionally small litters and cannot withstand the high fishing pressure much longer.
Please help us push for the international protection of Thresher sharks, Silky sharks and Mobula rays!
Dear CITES Parties,
We all strongly urge you to list Silky sharks, Thresher sharks, and Mobula rays under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
These species have experienced extreme declines in their populations due to fishing and bycatch. Regulation will be crucial if we are to avoid them becoming eligible for inclusion in Appendix I in the near future.