Three types of critically endangered sharks have been given added protection at the Cites (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) meeting in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday.
The convention body voted by a two-thirds majority to upgrade these sharks’ status: the oceanic whitetip, three varieties of hammerheads and the porbeagle; species all said to be seriously threatened by overfishing in the waters surrounding East Asia.
Shark supporters have been attempting to get Cites to protect these species since 1994, but there had long been strong opposition to the move from China and Japan. Experts say the critical factor has been a shift in South American nations, who’ve come to understand that sharks are more valuable alive than dead, in terms of ecological balance and tourism.
Campaigners hailed the move as historic and said the vote represented a major breakthrough for marine conservation. As the votes went on there were smatterings of applause in the hall and some high-fives among campaigners.