Now sharks fail to gain protection at CITES

Press release - 24 March, 2010
Responding to the failure of governments at CITES to list several species of sharks on Appendix II of CITES, Greenpeace International Oceans Campaigner Oliver Knowles said: “Yet again governments have failed to protect species that are massively in need of safe guarding from highly destructive fishing."

Shark fins drying on the upper deck of longline pirate vessel in the South Atlantic.

"It is estimated that 73 million sharks are killed every year - by failing to agree any level of protection at CITES there is nothing to stop this massive rate of killing from happening year after year. This is a serious threat to the existence of many shark species.

"The devastating result this morning sees hammerheads and oceanic whitetip sharks join the Atlantic bluefin, and red and pink corals, as victims of short-term economic interest winning out over efforts to save species from extinction at this CITES meeting."

The following species of shark failed to gain listing on Appendix II of the CITES Convention this morning: Scalloped, Great and Smooth Hammerhead and Oceanic Whitetip Shark. The Sandbar shark and the Dusky shark were removed from proposals following amendments during the plenary discussion

There will be further votes this afternoon on the Porbeagle shark and the Spiny Dogfish.

Responding to the progress of the CITES COP 15 so far, Greenpeace International Oceans Campaigner Oliver Knowles said:

"Proposal after proposal designed to protect massively overfished marine species have failed to pass at CITES. It's an appalling result, the impacts of which will effect our marine environment for generations to come."

"Governments at CITES have in the past had a good track record of protecting rare species, but can they rise to the challenge of protecting species which are now seriously depleted, and simultaneously worth a lot of money? Sadly, the signs from this meeting are not good. It's clear that more and more governments attending CITES are not trying to protect species, but safeguard what they see as "commodities" that they can continue trading."

ENDS

Other contacts: In Doha, at the CITES meeting Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner +44 7545 007 631 Sebastian Losada, Greenpeace International oceans policy expert (speaks Spanish), +34 626 998 254John Frizell, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner +44 7801 212 999In Amsterdam Jo Kuper, Greenpeace International communications +31 6 46 16 20 39 Steve Smith, Greenpeace International communications +31 6 43 78 73 59