All Japan news, together with other pro-shark fishing nations such as China and India, failed on Thursday in a final attempt to prevent five commercially valuable shark species from being listed under restricted trade rules of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
More than a two-thirds majority of the 178 members of the CITES, a global treaty which protects about 35,000 species, voted on Monday at committee level to regulate global trade in oceanic whitetip sharks, porbeagle sharks and another three species of hammerhead sharks, according to Kyodo news agency.
“This is an historic day for marine conservation,” Glenn Sant of wildlife trade protection group Traffic said after the decision at a major wildlife conference in Bangkok.
“Sharks populations are in freefall, but have been thrown a lifeline today — CITES has finally listened to the scientists,” he added, according to the international press.
The countries will not be completely banned from exporting shark meat. Instead, they will be required to regulate trade by issuing export permits to ensure their sustainability in the wild, otherwise they could face sanctions by CITES. Members have 18 months to start using the new measures.
“This is a historic moment, where science has prevailed over politics, as sharks and manta rays are being obliterated from our oceans,” said Carlos Drews of WWF.
“This decision will put a major dent in the uncontrolled trade in shark meat and fins, which is rapidly destroying populations of these precious animals to feed the growing demand for luxury goods.”
Every year about 100 million sharks are killed by humans, mostly for their fins, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.