Sharks are in peril and the ability to buy and sell their fins and meat internationally is a big driver of shark over-exploitation. And regulation is sorely lacking for almost all trade in sharks which are sought for fins, meat, oil, teeth and cartilage.
This is the thinking behind much of Project AWARE's work to protect sharks by using the power of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to help protect threatened sharks. It's a big challenge and there is no guaranteed result, but the shark species we are aiming to protect are so seriously threatened that we cannot afford not to try.
Choosing to participate in the process and having a seat at the table is key. Project AWARE staff and invaluable partners are talking sharks with policy makers in the US, Europe and Australia, with more conversations with other key stakeholders in the works for the months leading up to CITES.
In April David Roe, Project AWARE's Marine Conservation Officer, met with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore to discuss shark protections under CITES and to show divers support for shark conservation. The meeting was very constructive and paved the way for future discussions. Working with partners, Project AWARE will continue to pound the pavement over the coming months with CITES representatives in countries that matter most.
At these meetings we explain that divers are greatly concerned for sharks, as demonstrated by over 100,000 of you signing the Give Sharks a Fighting Chance petition. It is here where we put your voice into action.
You can help protect sharks by signing the Give Sharks a Fighting Chance petition or being a petition organiser. Instructors and other trainers can teach the AWARE Shark Conservation Course, or you can learn more about the issues by taking the course - contact your local PADI dive centre for details.
Let's work together for sharks!