Divers everywhere could not have asked for a better outcome at the recent 16th Conference of the Parties to CITES in Bangkok 3-14th March.
The oceanic whitetip shark, porbeagle, three species of hammerheads, and both manta rays – all classified as threatened on the IUCN Red List -- will now be added to CITES Appendix II. The freshwater sawfish will be transferred from Appendix II to completing a global ban on international commercial trade in this critically endangered specie.
Scuba divers all over the world responded to the call “Extinction is NOT an Option” signing Project AWARE’s petition, sending letters direct to delegates and spreading the word through social media. In an outpouring of support, more than 130,000 divers from 228 countries around the globe signed Project AWARE's shark petition urging CITES leaders to vote ‘yes’ for sharks and rays.
“We’re grateful to proponent governments for recognizing the value of thriving shark and ray populations, and for championing sound proposals,” said Ania Budziak, Project AWARE’s Associate Director. “We’re proud that the divers’ voice has contributed to achieving this key milestone in shark and ray conservation.”
Discover more about the actions on the ground at CoP16: www.projectaware.org/updates