The first workshop for key African shark fishing and trading States was held in Casablanca, Morocco from 11 to 13 February 2014. Representatives from both CITES and fisheries authorities in ten States attended the meeting and adopted a Casablanca Declaration. The workshop was opened by Mme Zakia Driouich, Secretary General of the Department of Maritime Fisheries of Morocco.
Delegates reviewed the status of sharks and the legal, administrative and management regimes for shark fisheries within their waters and on the adjacent high seas and assessed the challenges and opportunities afforded by the new CITES listings.
The Casablanca Declaration signalled their determination to successfully implement the new CITES listings for sharks and manta rays and agreed on a roadmap, which is contained in the report of a Regional Consultative Workshop on Capacity Assessments for the Implementation of New CITES Listings of Sharks and Manta Rays for African States released today.
At the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) in March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand, Parties decided to include 5 species of shark: oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus), scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran), smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) and porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus), together with manta rays (Manta spp.) in Appendix II of the Convention meaning that any international trade in specimens of these species will need to be accompanied by CITES permits confirming that they have been harvested sustainably and legally, and this trade will need to be reported to the CITES Secretariat.
Recognizing that implementation of these listings will take some preparation, Parties decided that the entry into force of the inclusion in Appendix II should be delayed by 18 months, until 14 September 2014.
The CITES Secretariat received Euro 1.2m in funding from the European Union to support these new sharks and manta ray listings and we are providing part of these funds to FAO - and consultants recommended by FAO - to support the implementation of CoP16 Decisions by CITES Parties and to help bring the fisheries and CITES sectors together in key shark fishing and trading nations. One aspect of this cooperation relates to the convening of regional consultative workshops on capacity assessments for the implementation of the new CITES aquatic listings.
In the Casablanca declaration, workshop participants:
- recognized the need for strengthening the regional collaboration among African countries to ensure a future sound management and sustainable use of these valuable resources;
- recommend that African countries that fish and trade sharks consider using the Roadmap for the implementation of CITES requirements in relation to sharks and manta rays agreed by the meeting.
- encouraged all countries to join and actively participate in relevant Regional Fishery Bodies to strengthen collaboration and harmonization of national regulations and approaches with regard to the management and sustainable use of shark species and commercially exploited aquatic species in general.
- appealed to our governments and donors to support the efforts by African countries to improve measures for implementing CITES regulations for sharks and manta rays, and for the conservation and sustainable use of sharks and rays in particular and other commercially exploited aquatic species in general.
The workshop was appreciated by all participants and sets a standard for similar events planned for the coming months.
Photo: School of Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, seawatch.org