Project AWARE, dive business owners and dive supporters united as the voice of the dive community in Bangkok, Thailand at the sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CITES CoP16). On 1 March, before the meeting opened, we made our message loud and clear – healthy shark and ray populations are priceless.
“The reason why I’m here today is because I believe sharks are incredible animals, very important for our ecosystem. They’re worth our effort to protect them,” said Giovanni Cacchione, Coral Grand Divers, Koh Tao, Thailand.
In an outpouring of support, more than 130,000 divers from nearly 300 countries around the globe have signed Project AWARE's shark petition urging CITES leaders to vote ‘yes’ for sharks and rays. The petition expresses outrage at the result of the last CITES CoP15 in 2010 which failed to protect eight vulnerable shark species, despite scientific advice. As international trade is a major driver in the overfishing of sharks, CITES protections are an integral component in their survival, together with strong and enforceable fisheries management.
We are blown away by all the fantastic shark support from our community and beyond.
“We sincerely thank each and every AWARE diver and shark advocate for joining with us in this urgent call to list sharks and rays under CITES,” said Alex Earl, Executive Director, Project AWARE Foundation.
“We’re representing the voice of scuba divers at every opportunity and demonstrating the value of living sharks.”
Thank you! Stay tuned for continued updates from the ground in Bangkok and take actiontoday. What we do in the next few days can still make a difference.