In a milestone step toward protecting sharks first ban on shark and manta ray trade has been enforced, according to Germany’s Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks.
The species All trade in five will be now regulated leading to be possessing a permit mandatory for harvesting them legally and sustainably. Starting Sunday (Sept. 14), without the permit they won’t be granted permission to sale the meat, liver oil, cartilage and fins of the sharks. The shark fins are the chief ingredient in shark fin soup.
“Commercially very important marine resources are put under the protection of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for the first time,” Hendricks said.
The drive to seek a ban on the unregulated trade in sharks have been in the picture since the 1990s but the regulations were adopted last year at a meeting in Bangkok.
In recent years the shark numbers have been under severe pressure as the numbers killed for their fins increased. An estimate suggests number to be about 100m a year, along with the increasing demand of the fin soup trade in Hong Kong and China. The slow growth and reproduction rate made it difficult for their populations to rebound from big losses.
A last year study published in the journal Marine Policy estimated that 100 million sharks were killed in 2000 and 97 million were killed in 2010.
The oceanic whitetip (Carcharhinus longimanus), once a widespread large shark species looks like a bycatch in pelagic (open sea) fisheries, the porbeagle (Lamna nasus), found in cold and temperate waters of the North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere and scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini), great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran), smooth hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna zygaena), all three varieties known for their distinctive head shape and the Manta rays, valuable for their gills for their utilisation in Chinese medicine will be elevated to Appendix II of the Cites code, which will make permit and certificates mandatory.
The regulation is effective in approximately 180 countries worldwide. The main consumer in this market, China, has not registered a reservation to the Cites. Canada, Denmark (for Greenland), Guyana, Iceland, Japan and Yemen have all stated they will not adhere to the new rules.
Cites Secretary General John Scanlon comments,”Regulating international trade in these shark and manta ray species is critical to their survival and is a very tangible way of helping to protect the biodiversity of our oceans.”
“The practical implementation of these listings will involve issues such as determining sustainable export levels, verifying legality, and identifying the fins, gills and meat that are in trade. This may seem challenging, but by working together we can do it and we will do it.”