Stronger shark and manta rays protections have come into force.
International trade in specimens of five shark species and all manta ray species, including their meat, gills and fins, will need to be accompanied by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) permits and certificates confirming that they have been harvested sustainably and legally.
14 September 2014: Stronger shark and manta rays protections have come into force. International trade in specimens of five shark species and all manta ray species, including their meat, gills and fins, will need to be accompanied by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) permits and certificates confirming that they have been harvested sustainably and legally.
The measures will apply to the oceanic whitetip shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, great hammerhead shark, smooth hammerhead shark, porbeagle shark and manta rays, which are all now listed under CITES Appendix II. Under the new rules, exports and re-exports of these listed species will not be allowed from any of the 180 States Parties unless they have been authorized by designated national authorities. Importing consumer States will have to ensure that the correct permits and certificates are present with all shipments.
This is the first time that shark species of great commercial value, and traded in high volumes, have been included in Appendix II. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the global reported annual shark catches from 2000 to 2009 ranged between 750,000 and 900,000 tons.
The decision to list these species was taken by Parties on 14 March 2013, but entry into force was delayed until 14 September 2014 to give Parties time to resolve technical and administrative issues in trade control. Over the past 18 months, countries and organizations including, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Fiji, Germany, India, Morocco, New Zealand, the US, FAO, World Customs Organization (WCO), Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), and TRAFFIC made a collective effort to prepare for the implementation of these new listings. An EU €1.2 million contribution to CITES and FAO helped support preparations.
Several countries have entered reservations on some or all of these species, including Denmark, on behalf of Greenland (porbeagle shark), Canada, Guyana (all five shark species and the manta rays), Japan (all five shark species), Iceland (porbeagle shark) and Yemen (the three hammerhead sharks). While they will not be bound by CITES regulations regarding trade in these species, in the case of trade with States that are CITES Parties and that have not entered a reservation, the usual permits or certificates will be required. [CITES Press Release 1] [CITES Notification to the Parties] [CITES Press Release 2] [CITES Secretary General’s message, Chennai, India] [FAO and CITES Press Release 1] [FAO and CITES Press Release 2] [IUCN News]