Monday, September 14, 2009

CITES Upcoming Meeting: a chance for more shark protection

It's several months off, March 2010 to be exact, but you want to keep an eye on the upcoming meeting of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna - better known as CITES.

What makes CITES important is that it is an international diplomatic organization and it focuses on what seems to motivate most governments and industries: trade. This makes it highly regarded as not just a "bleeding-heart conservation group" but an ecological organization focused on the commerce associated with endangered species. It's basic three-tiered (Appendices) approach to determining a species ecological status, and what can or can't be done on the open market, has been accepted by many countries worldwide.

This upcoming March meeting is when many proposals regarding the status of various species are introduced. There are discussions going on with several countries right now, including the U.S., regarding the status of several species of shark. Pelagic, or open water, sharks like hammerheads, oceanic white tip, and others are under consideration, along with several coastal species. Whether Galapagos sharks, soupfin sharks, duskys or sandbars, all have been hit incredibly hard by commercial and local fishing operations.

Keep an eye on CITES' upcoming agenda and watch other conservation organizations and web sites for announcements regarding shark status proposals. When you can jump in and make your voice heard, don't hesitate.

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