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The Best and Worst for Sharks in 2012

Jan. 11/13

It’s that time of year when many of us take stock. What happened in 2012? How can we make the New Year the best that it can be? Project AWARE is hitting the ground running in 2013 and we’re committed to ensuring progress for sharks and rays under CITES this March. You can help push for these protections: Sign the petition today!   

Looking back at 2012, our partner and shark expert, Sonja Fordham, founder and president of Shark Advocates International (SAI), recently recapped an exciting year in shark and ray conservation policy. One thing is clear - great strides were made in 2012. But it’s also useful to acknowledge where some efforts went wrong in order to forge a better path ahead.

For inspiration, the top five high points are:

1. International prohibition on Pacific ocean whitetip sharks – with potential to reduce oceanic whitetip mortality by as much as 76 percent

2. Sweeping Mediterranean protections – prohibiting the retention, transshipment, landing, storage and sale of sharks and rays

3. A global conservation plan – the first intergovernmental treaty dedicated specifically to global shark conservation

4. Unprecedented push for CITES listings – a record number of shark and ray species were proposed for listing under CITES to ensure that international trade is legal and sustainable

5. European Parliament embraces stronger finning ban – a landslide vote to end removal of shark fins at sea

What does this all mean? Our collective voice for sharks is being heard and the work of Project AWARE, partner organizations including SAI, and thousands of shark defenders like you is paying off. Thank you!

As always, effectiveness of the positive measures depends on countries implementing and enforcing consistent regulations. Although 2012 is going to be difficult to beat, it wasn’t a perfect year for sharks and rays. See Fordham’s full article “The ten best and worst events in shark fisheries management of 2012” on the Southern Fried Science blog.