CITES: Bye, Bye Hammerhead and Oceanic whitetip sharks

The hammerhead proposal has been rejected and so has the oceanic whitetip. The secret vote results for the hammerhead are: for:75, against:45, abstentions:14 (missed by 5 votes) and the oceanic whitetip are for:75, against:51, abstentions:16.

This defeat is a massive blow for shark conservation as we had hoped that by listing them onto CITES Appendix II, which would not have prohibited trading but rather provided international control and management of trade, while working with the RFMOs such as ICCAT. Scientific evidence, FAO and IUCN, supports the drastic decline of these species by over 90% in some areas, and which are targeted primarily for their fins.

Amongst those against the proposal who intervened was Japan, China, Korea, Cuba, Senegal, Venezuela, Singapore and Indonesia who argued that sharks, and all other marine species, should not be on CITES as they are the responsibility of the RFMOs (Regional Fishery Management Organisations). ICCAT, one of these RFMOs, admitted however during the debate that they do not have enough data – it is a given fact that ICCAT has not managed shark catches and that unregulated, unreported and illegal fishing is draining the oceans of sharks worldwide. Socia-economic issues, as well as inability to identify different shark species fins, which will be necessary in the control of trade, was used in favour of not supporting the proposals by these countries.

Spain and the EU supported, along with Monaco, UAE, Columbia, Palau, Qatar, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Australia, New Zealand, Norway,Croatia, Argentina. South Africa’s intervention was ambiguous, stressing the need for RFMOs and CITES to work together if the proposal (the oceanic) was accepted.

After lunch the last two shark proposals, the spiny dogfish and porbeagle, will be voted on but these first two species were the most likely of being supported.

I will blog later again, but feel decidedly depressed, the time was now to act in order to save these species. With the defeat comes a sense of hopelessness, which I find difficult not to feel at this moment.

Bye, Bye Hammerhead and Oceanic whitetip sharks -CITES

Committee 1 during shark proposals. Photo: Lesley Rochat

  1. DanielDaniel06-21-2010

    I am currently a studying marine biologist student, I have travelled many parts of this world, experienced many things, and spoken and learnt from many people.

    And the one underlying tone, is simply. we a just a primate, an out of control, naked ape with the worst features – a brain with a misplaced conscious.

    people everywhere complain about global warming, the effects of so many people, the effects of current change, changing temps, and distribution of species or the elimination of species due to this. We place a blame on industry, and although our effects have helped increase these rates of change, they not hold a candle to the simple natural processes that are happening to our planet.
    Put simply, we are just an ant farm being smashed with the natural elements.
    The Earth is changing, and we are just another organims on this planet riding it out, the difference is, our ideology places us as some sort of supreme being against the rest and so we should survive at whatever cost….
    What misplaced arrogance is this.
    It is this mindset that is why, why all the natural processes go on (tectonic plate movement, orbital effects, and the results on earth), the organism, the life we have now are severely under threat.

    Humans have built up this dominant ideology to the point that we believe we can harvest anything on this planet as a resource. The Japanese find loop hole so they can feed their people whale meat, and worse, slaughter 20,000+ dolphins a year to cover their whale ,meat loss.
    Other nations uphold relentless shark finning, killing up to 250,000 sharks a day to support the billion dollar industry,
    Japan and others slaughter populations of apex fish species like blue fin tuna, this species, that was once used to feed entire roman armies, is now on the brink of extinction to provide a delicacy item for rich patrons and sushi throughout japan.

    There is very little hope that can be placed in government decisions, even at meetings with NGO’s, the issue at hand here is simply money. Japan buy other prostituting nations to allow them to enter these international meetings so they can vote japans way, OR provide other nations with supplements to also vote their way or turn a blind eye.

    For me as young university student constantly learning of the simple fact that the human race, in all its ideology assumes it can rape the world of every resource it has to support the out of control population is crippling.

    The only way to stop these things happening to our oceans and to our world is to gain the attention of people from the public, from the people that arent controlled by pay outs, that wont prostitute their nation or people for some dollars. It is up to US, the people that hear the call to do whatever we can to support these causes and put an end to this.

    for me though, it seems the only way this will happen is at ultimate sacrifice, to gain attention, not to blow up the ships that are whaling etc, but worse. I think of Diane fossey, who saved a gorilla species form extinction by fighting to protect their mountain for over a decade, only to finally be murdered resulting in the final realization on enforced protection form the high powers to protect the mountain.
    Change can only arise through the actions of the minorities..its written throughout history, and it only supports the human ideology, that the mass of virus will consume and consume until a minority will stand up against it, to which more individual can realize the truth, or will silence them to feed the population.

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