Experiencing the unique beauty of the underwater world as a diver inspires me to do what I can to protect our ocean and its inhabitants, particularly magnificent species like sharks and rays.
Sharks and rays are being pulled out of the ocean at unprecedented levels. Each year tens of millions of sharks are killed to meet growing demand from Asia for “shark fin soup” often used in weddings and other special occasions. The meat of sharks and rays is also prized in Europe and, increasingly, the gills of manta rays are sought for a traditional Chinese health tonic. Believe it or not, this lucrative international trade remains virtually unregulated.
We have an opportunity to turn the tide as officials from countries around the world convene in Bangkok for a conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). There, they can decide to protect a record number of shark and ray species – including oceanic white-tips, hammerheads, and mantas – from the unsustainable international trade that threatens their survival.
Sharks and rays are simply not cut out for intense fishing pressure. Most species grow slowly and produce just a few young. The resulting population declines are widespread and in many cases severe. Depletion of these critical species threatens ecosystems, livelihoods, and eco-tourism.
Through Project AWARE’s petition, I’m calling on country delegates to list sharks and rays under CITES and hold international trade to sustainable levels.
Join this growing voice of concerned citizens acting to protect these species before it’s too late.
Thanks for your support.
The German Elasmobranch Association, Humane Society International, Project AWARE, Shark Advocates International, Shark Trust, and Wildlife Conservation Society, with support from Oceans 5, are working as a coalition to promote adoption of the proposals to list shark and ray species under CITES.