In a matter of days, officials from countries around the world will have a historic opportunity to protect a record number of sharks and rays – including oceanic whitetip sharks, hammerheads and manta rays – from the unsustainable international trade that threatens their survival.
During the 16th meeting of Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 3 – 14 March, delegates will consider 70 proposals affecting more than 300 species, including the world’s most vulnerable sharks and manta rays.
Project AWARE Foundation is calling for a surge of support from scuba divers and shark advocates worldwide (www.projectaware.org/CITES). Before CITES leaders vote, they need to hear our voice:
1. Sign the petition urging CITES member countries to give sharks and rays much needed protections.
2. Send a letter direct to CITES authorities urging them to vote “Yes” for sharks and rays.
3. Spread the word. Download the “Extinction is NOT an Option” sign, take a picture and post it to our Facebook wall of support.
International trade in wild plants and animals is worth billions of dollars a year and in too many cases, threatens species survival. In the case of sharks – sought after for fins, meat, oil, teeth and cartilage – regulation is sorely lacking for almost all trade and is a key driver in species decline.