The choice is a “landmark in not only the number of species it covers, but in the amount of the trade that is going to be regulated,” stated Sue Lieberman, vice chairman of worldwide coverage for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “If you’re going to ask, ‘How can it be that we are losing the world’s sharks?’ The answer is, yes, it’s because of a bowl of soup.”
Lieberman added that China is the biggest shopper of shark fins, whereas Hong Kong is the biggest port for the commerce.
Earlier than the vote, CITES laws utilized to about 20 to 25 p.c of shark species which might be regularly fished for his or her fins. Now, about 90 to 95 p.c of these species will likely be coated, Lieberman stated.
Countries collaborating within the CITES conference should situation permits certifying that the fins are legally obtained and that the extent of fishing is sustainable. These permits are normally checked at ports when shark fins are imported and exported, Lieberman stated.
About 36 p.c of the world’s shark and ray species are threatened with extinction, based on the World Wildlife Fund, however demand for his or her fins and meat has lengthy blunted conservation efforts.
“Sharks are really in quite a special class when it comes to fisheries because an awful lot of them live a long time. As a result of that, they take a long time to reach maturity and start having young,” stated Colman O Criodain, world head of wildlife coverage at World Wildlife Fund Worldwide. “They’re very vulnerable to overfishing — a little bit of fishing does a lot of damage.”
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Eighty-eight international locations voted in favor of the expanded laws, whereas 29 voted towards it and 17 abstained, the Wildlife Conservation Society stated. Dissenting international locations included Indonesia, China and Japan.
“The vast bulk of the shark and ray catch worldwide happens in about 20 countries,” O Criodain stated. “We know that a lot of these countries struggle with governance on a number of fronts.”
He added that enforcement is “not going to be easy, but in the long run, it’s for the best.”
In keeping with O Criodain, sharks are typically the ocean’s high predators, “so if you’re going to be losing them in significant numbers, you’re going to seriously change the profile of the marine ecosystem.”
“In the long run, you’re going to impede the capacity of the ocean to deliver the food and the other benefits that humans need to survive,” he stated.