Jaws-Sized Victory for Sharks

March 14, 2013

Proposals to protect five species of sharks, freshwater sawfish, and two manta ray species have been accepted by CITES. These protections are critical to ensuring that international trade does not threaten the survival of commercially valuable shark and ray species.

UPDATE: Proposals to protect five species of sharks, freshwater sawfish, and two manta ray species have been accepted by CITES. WCS is celebrating this decision by an historic, broad group of nations from around the world.

For details, read our latest press release as well as a statement by WCS's President and CEO, Cristián Samper. Visit The New York Times to read about the many species granted new protections


Delegates from around the world are currently meeting in Thailand to discuss global conservation issues. A group of more than 30 countries, including the United States, Brazil, and Ecuador, are asking the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to adopt new proposals protecting sharks and rays.

Like many large, charismatic species of wildlife, these denizens of the deep are currently experiencing severe population losses. Over-fishing and poorly regulated wildlife trade are mainly responsible for these declines.

Species that may receive protection from international trade include oceanic whitetip shark, porbeagle shark, three species of hammerheads, and two species of manta rays. To guarantee regulation by CITES, two-thirds of the voting governments will have to approve these new proposals.

Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, WCS’s Vice President of Species Conservation, says, “CITES listings for these species would help put controls on an international trade that threatens many shark species and the livelihoods that depend on them.”

As part of our marine conservation work, WCS safeguards aquatic animals and their habitats across the waters of 20 countries and all five oceans.

Learn more about CITES and our work saving marine life by reading our press release>>

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