A happy sight at CITES

Manta rays, hammerhead sharks, oceanic white tips and porbeagles are successfully awarded Appendix II listing on CITES! On March 11th 2013 in Bangkok, focal points from 178 countries around the world met to give them protection from unsustainable fishing for international trade.

A happy sight at CITES

The vote, on the 40th anniversary of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species marks the first international agreement to protect all species within the genus Manta.

The CITES Appendix II proposal for manta rays had passed, with far more than the required 2/3 majority support. 80.67% of the Parties had voted in favor and exercised an unprecedented precautionary approach to avoid the over-exploitation of our favourite marine animal.

Camel Dive Club’s good friend Andrea Marshall - of the Foundation for the protection of Marine Mega Fauna - said, “Researchers around the world have shown that manta rays are amongst the least fecund of all elasmobranch species, with extremely conservative life history traits, most notably their small litter size”.

“Even if the need to protect a species is as clear as day, like the Blue Fin tuna or the Oceanic Whitetip shark, politics and other economic interests sometimes stand in the way. But somehow the mood behind the Manta proposal felt different. Perhaps it’s because manta rays are iconic, non-threatening species”.

The first shark species to be evaluated by CITES parties, the oceanic white tip (Carcharhinus longimanus), also passed by a narrow margin (68,66%) for Appendix II listing. The second group of shark species ‘the hammerheads’ passed by a narrow margin (70%).

MMF sent out special thanks to all their collaborators, partner NGOs and the public for their assistance and support over the last 10 years. “A very long road for a very worthy cause. Give yourselves a big high five for a job well done!” This includes all of Camel Dive Club's guests who - since Eco Tribe began in 2008 - had signed the Project AWARE Give Sharks a Fighting Chance campaign petition. We sent over 1000 signatures from our Na’ama Bay base, but this total does not include all the internet signatures we encouraged over the last 5 years.