Coalition of Costa Rican Marine conservation organizations call on the government to support shark conservation at #CITESCoP19 CITES …official position at Wildlife conservation convention still uncertain.
CREMA Costa Rica Marine Watch International MarViva Green Wolf CR Fundación Amigos de la Isla del Coco Asociación Costa Rica por Siempre Misión Tiburón Costa Rica Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper Fundación Corcovado For The Oceans Foundation
The following CITES Proposal 37, which proposes the family-level listing of carcharhinid sharks (requiem sharks) in Appendix II of CITES, is being led by the government of Panama and already has the support of more than 40 countries, including the 27 members of the European Union, El Salvador, Colombia, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom, Senegal, Bangladesh, Israel, Maldives, Seychelles, Gabon, Syria, Sri Lanka, and every day more countries are joining in support of the proposal. Likewise, the CITES Secretariat recommends the adoption of the proposal.
Ministers, Vice Ministers and Delegates
19th Conference of the Parties (CoP19) to CITES
Panama City, Panama
Dear Ministers, Vice Ministers and Delegates:
We are writing to express our complete support for Proposal 37, led by the Government of Panama, at the upcoming 19th Conference of the Parties (CoP19) to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which proposes the family-level listing of carcharhinid sharks (known as requiem sharks), in CITES Appendix II.
If adopted, this proposal would bring most of the international trade in shark fins under CITES Appendix II regulation for the first time, thus promoting better management of marine species to prevent their extinction—especially shark species.
Therefore, we respectfully invite you to support this proposal (Proposal 37) during the upcoming CoP19 to be held in Panama from 14 – 25 November, 2022.
Given that sharks are slow-growing animals that are late to reach sexual maturity and produce few offspring throughout their lifetimes, their populations cannot support the volume of extraction required to meet the international demand for their fins and meat. Consequently, an alarming decline is taking place across different shark populations on a global scale.
For example, recent studies have revealed that more than 70% of shark species that enter the global fin trade are under some degree of threat according to the IUCN (Cardeñosa et al., 2022).
Meanwhile, the 19 lead species of Proposal 37 are already classified under some degree of threat and clearly meet the criteria for CITES listing. In fact, some of these species almost meet or exceed the criteria for inclusion in CITES Appendix I due to widespread declines of up to 70% and, in some cases, reaching regional extinction. Additionally, at least 35 species of the carcharhinidae family have been documented in the shark fin markets of Hong Kong, accounting for almost half of all species documented in this market (Fields et al. 2017).
Together with the 19 lead species of Proposal 37, the government of Panama is proposing the inclusion in CITES Appendix II of all other species of the carcharhinidae family as look-alike species. Indeed, the identification of shark species from severed fins is relatively easy and reliable at the family level, particularly for the carcharhinidae family.
- However, this is not the case when trying to discern between species of the same family because of the close resemblance between species, especially regarding their meat (e.g. Carcharhinidae family).
- Therefore, omitting any species in the carcharhinidae family from CITES listing would allow products of CITES-listed species to be easily labeled as those of unlisted species, thus evading permit requirements and facilitating illegal trade.
Undoubtedly, the inclusion of the entire carcharhinidae family in CITES Appendix II would be immensely helpful, allowing countries with less capacity to employ technological tools to confirm compliance with trade regulations through simple visual identification.
Time is running out to reverse the negative trend seen in global shark populations and more ambitious measures must be urgently taken at a national and international scale through global policy instruments such as CITES to prevent large-scale extinctions. There may never be a better time than now to bring most of the global trade in shark fin and products under CITES Appendix II regulation and thus prevent the imminent extinction of multiple species.
We cordially remind you that the CITES secretariat recommends the adoption of Proposal 37, and that this proposal already has the support of more than 40 countries, including Panama, the 27 members of the European Union, El Salvador, Colombia, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom, Senegal, Bangladesh, Israel, Maldives, Seychelles, Gabon, Syria, Sri Lanka, and every day more countries are confirming their support for the proposal.
We commend the government of Panama for its tremendous effort and leadership, and urge the Parties to make the most of this great opportunity to chart a sustainable course for sharks.
The future of these species is in your hands. Thank you for your consideration.
The undersigned individuals and organizations.
Andy Mann, SeaLegacy
Carlos Pérez Bermúdez, TIburones Vivos
CREMA – Costa Rica
Cristina Mittermeier, SeaLegacy
Dr. Erick Ross Salazar , MigraMar
Dr. James Ketchum, Pelagios Kakunjá
Ilene Zanella, MIsión Tiburón
Jorge Serendero Hülssner, For the Oceans Foundation
Marine Watch International
Paul Nicklen, SeaLegacy
The Sea Change Agency