Protect Highly Migratory Species of Sharks and Rays at CoP 11

Shark Stewards urges the Conference of the Parties (CoP11) to the Convention of Migratory Species, to protect sharks and rays.

Today, the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals convened in
Quito, Ecuador.

Shark Stewards joins Pew Environment, Greenpeace and other ocean organizations calling on CMS Parties to adopt proposals to protect highly migratory sharks and rays through Appendix I and II listings, and to develop better international management for these rapidly declining species and strengthen domestic protections.

Increasing protections for critically threatened shark and ray species have been submitted by the governments of Egypt, the European Union, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Fiji.  These leaders have proposed increased international protections by listing the silky shark, three species of thresher shark, two species of  hammerhead shark, the reef manta, and all species of mobulid ray for consideration.


We urge the reperesentatives at the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS (COP11), to make listing these shark and ray species on the CMS Appendices as the top priority for COP11.

  1. The inclusion of the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) in CMS Appendix II. Proposed by Egypt (UNEP/CMS/COP11/Doc.24.1.14).
  1. The inclusion of all species of thresher sharks, genus Alopias, in CMS Appendix II. Proposed by the European Union and its 28 Member States (UNEP/CMS/COP11/Doc.24.1.17)
  1. The inclusion of the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) and the scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini) in CMS Appendix II. Proposed by the governments of Costa Rica and Ecuador (UNEP/CMS/COP11/Doc.24.1.15 and UNEP/CMS/ COP11/Doc.24.1.16).
  1. The inclusion of the reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) and all species of mobula rays, genus Mobula, in CMS  Appendix I and II. Proposed by Fiji (UNEP/CMS/COP11/Doc.24.1.9 and UNEP/CMS/COP11/Doc.24.1.10).

Because Sharks are in deep trouble.

Every year, approximately 100 million sharks are caught and killed in commercial fisheries, many for their fins or gill rakers in the case of rays. Overfishing sharks and the shark fin trade is causing many shark populations to crash.  Some large sharks have experienced a decline by as much as 90-99%  around the world.  Shark’s biology that has served them so well over hundreds of millions of years, is now working against them. Sharks grow slowly, mature late, and produce few young over their lifetimes. These factors make them highly vulnerable to overexploitation and it can take populations decades to recover from depletion if fishing is stopped. At least one-quarter of sharks and rays are threatened, and over one-quarter are Near Threatened. The demand for shark fins,meat, liver oil, and other products has driven large declines in populations worldwide. It is estimated that more than half of all shark and rays face an elevated risk of extinction due to overfishing.

Protecting migratory marine species and their habitats is  essential for the health of the oceans and humans. Listings that require better international management protecting sharks are a critical step towards saving species facing imminent extinction.

Add your voice urging the Conference of the Parties to save these sharks and rays by listing them under the Highly Migratorys Species appendices.