Sharks were the big losers today at the 15th Conference of the Parties (CoP 15) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in Doha.
"CITES Parties voted by the slimmest of margins to protect porbeagle sharks, but rejected all other shark proposals at this meeting," said Dr. Ralf Sonntag, Director IFAW Germany. "An Appendix II listing would have given sharks a fighting chance against the devastation that shark finning is causing around the world."
"Sharks have been sold out today. Short-term profits have won again at CITES."
With more than 100 million sharks caught each year, some species are estimated to have declined by as much as 80 percent in the past decade.
Shark parts and products fetch high prices (e.g., good quality fins sell for up to US$740/kg and jaws can sell for more than US$10,000 each).
Four proposals were submitted to CITES for uplisting of shark species to Appendix II to offer them greater protection: Proposal 15 for five shark species (Scalloped, Great and Smooth Hammerhead, Sandbar and Dusky Shark -- amended to remove the Sandbar and Dusky Shark); Proposal 16 for the Oceanic Whitetip by Palau and the United States; Proposal 17 for the Porbeagle Shark; and Proposal 18 for the Spiny Dogfish proposed by the EU and Palau.
The Spiny Dogfish was rejected with 60 votes in favour, 67 votes against and 11 abstaining.