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Read about all the latest developments in the ocean protection movement.

 

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Mar. 11/13

Conservationists look to final plenary to cement positive yet tentative decisions

Bangkok, 11 March 2013. In a highly anticipated Committee vote today, proposals to list under CITES* five species of sharks were supported by more than the two-thirds majority of voting countries needed for adoption. Conservationists are pleased yet mindful that decisions must still be confirmed in the final plenary session later this week.

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Mar. 07/13

Thailand signals opposition to CITES listings while Senegal proclaims support

Debate is heating up on proposed protections for sharks and rays at a major global trade meeting. Shark conservation experts have united to urge governments to vote in favour of the measures and thereby ensure the survival of the threatened species. Roughly 150 of the 178 governments that are party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are expected to vote on these proposals over the coming days.

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Mar. 01/13

Increased trade protection for polar bears and sharks are on the agenda of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) next week in Bangkok, officials said Thursday.

"We expect proposals on polar bears, sharks and manta rays will go to a vote," convention secretary general John Scanlon said.

The CITES meeting, which is to begin Sunday and run through to March 14, is drawing more than 2,000 delegates from 177 countries.

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Feb. 24/13

Overfishing threatens the magnificent and prized ‘Ali Maduwa’, writes Malaka Rodrigo.

A giant “maduwa”, or manta ray, was netted last week by fisherman in Welipatanwila, Ambalanthota, on the South coast. The ocean creature was pregnant and weighed 1,500 kilograms. A week earlier, another manta ray was caught by fishermen in Akkaraipattu, on the East coast. Both sea creatures have been identified as Giant Oceanic Manta Rays, the largest member of the ray family.

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Feb. 21/13

Some sharks spend extended time periods in the protected waters of the Bahamas yet roam long distances when they leave

As the nations of the world prepare to vote on measures to restrict international trade in endangered sharks in early March, a team of researchers has found that one of these species – the oceanic whitetip shark – regularly crosses international boundaries. Efforts by individual nations to protect this declining apex predator within their own maritime borders may therefore need to be nested within broader international conservation measures.

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Feb. 13/13

Less than half of the 280 million metric tons of plastic produced each year ends up in the landfill. A fair bit of the rest ends up littering the landscape, blown by the wind or washed down streams and rivers into the sea.

So far Americans spend $520 million a year to clean up plastic litter washing up on beaches and shorelines. Efforts to clean up the oceans' enormous swirling gyres of garbage has an incalculable cost. Thus, much of the focus has been on how to stop the river of trash from entering the ocean.

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Feb. 06/13

The European Parliament has voted for sweeping reforms of the controversial EU Common Fisheries Policy.

The package includes measures to protect endangered stocks and end discards - the practice of throwing unwanted dead fish into the sea.

Wasteful discards are reckoned to account for a quarter of total catches under the current quota system.

There are hopes that the changes can become law by next year, after more talks with the 27 EU governments.

The MEPs voted for the package by 502 votes to 137.

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Jan. 26/13

The United States said Friday it would support proposals to curb the trade of five shark species and manta rays, whose numbers are declining because of demand for fins and gills.

"For several decades, we have been increasingly concerned about the over harvest of sharks and manta rays," US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said in a meeting at the United Nations, according to a statement.

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Jan. 23/13

Recent research reveals that even remote areas of the oceans are affected by increasing levels of plastic waste on the seafloor. The study found that quantities of litter from human activities, mostly plastic, on the seabed of an isolated Arctic site, doubled from 2002 to 2011.

Around 60% of the Earth’s surface is covered by the seafloor, yet very little is known about how pollution has affected the deep ocean, in particular, remote areas such as the Arctic.

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Jan. 15/13

According to a JRC co-authored article published in Nature Scientific Reports, the shark and ray communities in the Adriatic Sea have been highly depleted in recent years, with fishing being a key driver of the decline.

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