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Campaign to Save Endangered Sharks at CITES

Shark Stewards is joining the Shark Specialist Group with the Shark Research Institute to advocate and support new listings of sharks and rays at the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species Of Wild Fauna & Flora (CITES) Convention of the Parties (CoP19) in Panama, November 14-25, 2022.

Several species of sharks and rays are being newly listed to Appendix II and several criitically endnagered species

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I Bonnethead Shark (Sphyrna tiburo)

Hammerhead sharks Sphyrnidae spp.

Distribution: S. tiburo: occurs in the Western Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Oceans.

Population: S. tiburo: Endangered (IUCN 2019), global population reduction of 50–79% over the past 3 generations (36 years). S. tudes, S. corona and S. media: all Critically Endangered (IUCN 2020).

Threats: Primarily from over-exploitation but exacerbated by habitat degradation/loss.

Trade: S. tiburo has increased in the global fin market as demand for less-expensive, smaller fins is increasing.[1].

Fins are increasingly found in trade, as detailed in AC30 Inf. 14.

• Current listing of 3 species in the Family since 2013 leaves others vulnerable to trade.

• Listing the entire Family greatly facilitates enforcement.

Meets criteria for Appendix II (RC 9.24 (Rev. CoP17), criterions A and B, Annex 2(a)

▪ high levels of international trade

▪ trade levels already caused population decline

▪ required to ensure that the harvest from the wild is not reducing the wild population to a level at which its survival might be threatened by continued harvesting or other influences.

And criterion A of Annex 2 (b):

▪ enforcement officers will be unlikely to be able to distinguish between them


II Requiem sharks

Carcharinidae (19 lead species) including uplifting of oceanic whitecap sharks (Carcharhinus longimanus) to Appendix I dues to severe overfishing, loss as bycatch and the shark fin trade.

• At least 35 species in the Family have been documented in Hong Kong fin markets, representing 46% of all species.

• New research shows that 37% of shark species are now threatened with extinction, the second highest threatened percentage among vertebrate groups on the planet (IUCN  2021).

• Listing the entire Family greatly facilitates enforcement.

Distribution: Together the 19 lead species have a global distribution.

Population: The 19 lead species are all classified as Critically Endangered or Endangered (IUCN 2019, 2020, 2021).

Threats: Primary threat to these species is unsustainable and unregulated fisheries and retention for the global fin and meat trade.

Trade: The lead species were all found in a study of the global fin trade,[1],[2],[3],[4] with several found in very large numbers.

 The lead species are likely to all meet the criteria for an Appendix I listing with widespread declines exceeding 70%, and in some cases regional extinction.

• Listing the entire Family greatly facilitates enforcement.The 19 lead species meet criteria for Appendix II (RC 9.24 (Rev. CoP17), criterions A and B, Annex 2(a)

▪ high levels of international trade

▪ trade levels already caused population decline

▪ required to ensure that harvest from the wild is not reducing the wild population to a level at which its survival might be threatened by continued harvesting or


[1] Cardeñosa, D., Shea, K.H., Zhang, H., Feldheim, K., Fischer, G.A. and Chapman, D.D. 2020b. Small fins, large trade: a snapshot of the species composition of low-value shark fins in the Hong Kong markets. Animal Conservation 23: 203–211.

[2] Fields, A. T. et al. Species composition of the international shark fin trade assessed through a retail-market survey in Hong Kong. Conserv. Biol. 32, 376–389 (2018).

[3] Cardeñosa, D. et al. CITES-listed sharks remain among the top species in the contemporary fin trade. Conserv. Lett. 43, e12457–e12467 (2018).

[4] Cardeñosa, D., Fields, A.T., Babcock, E.A. et al. Species composition of the largest shark fin retail-market in mainland China. Sci Rep 10, 12914 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69555-1.