Landmark decision limit or regulate the commercial trade in 54 shark species of the requiem family, including tiger, bull and blue sharks.
The186-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES have voted for the first time to regulate the trade that kills millions of sharks every year.
The measures regulate the commercial trade in 54 shark species of the requiem family, including tiger, bull and blue sharks which are the most targeted for the fin trade. Most requiem sharks are threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.
Six small hammerhead shark species were also listed for protection along with 37 types of guitarfish, which are shark-like rays.
Together the new regulations place nearly all shark species traded internationally for their fins under CITES oversight and controls, up from only 25% prior to the CITES CoP19.
The shark species proposals were keenly anticipated. Many marine species have seen large drops in their numbers either due to overfishing or being caught as by-catch where another species is being targeted. The proposal on Requiem sharks included a number of species, not necessarily endangered but for the reason that they are hard to tell apart from other species that are endangered. The recommendation to include all such species is to try to conserve those at risk.