Sharks Get Protection
60 of the worlds shark species have come under increased protection following a deal signed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Hunted for soup
Many of the 60 shark species are endangered. The greatest threat to them is being hunted for their fins, which form the basis for shark fin soup, a delicacy in some Asian countries. Blue, bull and tiger sharks are the species that have been most targeted, all of which now benefit from greater protection.
With 60 sharks coming under the protection of CITES, around 95% of sharks that are hunted for their fins are now protected. The rules state that anyone either buying or selling one of these species must now have official documentation to allow them. The documents will only be given to those that are not endangering the species or the ocean.
Sharks needed for biodiversity
Sharks are hugely important to the world’s oceans, and their biodiversity. Conservationists are hopeful that the latest ruling from CITES will help maintain healthy levels of biodiversity in the oceans. As apex predators’ sharks help maintain a balance, without them certain species would overpopulate the ocean and have a knock-on effect on all sea life.
Some believe the new rules will only encourage illegal hunting to take place, and drive the price for the fins up, thus encouraging people to break the law. However, many campaigners believe it is a positive step and hope that we see huge benefit.