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CITES Prepares for the Implementation of Regulations on Shark and Rays

CITES14 September 2013: Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) have exactly one year to implement the listings of oceanic whitetip shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, great hammerhead shark, smooth hammerhead shark, porbeagle shark and manta rays, which they adopted at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) in March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. The listings will enter into force on 14 September 2014.

Any international trade in specimens of these species will need to be accompanied by CITES permits confirming that they have been harvested sustainably and legally. The European Union (EU) has offered 1.2 million euros to the Secretariat to support developing countries in the sustainable management and enhanced implementation of CITES regulations for commercially-exploited aquatic species. During discussions held in Bonn on 24 July 2013, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) announced that Germany has launched a study to develop guidelines and recommendations for CITES Parties on how to make non-detriment findings (NDFs) for the porbeagle and other shark species, and is considering holding an international Workshop on NDFs for sharks in 2014.

During a visit by John Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General, with the 21 Branch offices of the Chinese Management Authority in Jilin Province, China in July 2013, the implementation of the shark and rays listing were discussed. Prior to the visit, China advised that, in spite of its opposition to the inclusion of these shark species in the CITES Appendices, it would not enter any reservation. During a subsequent visit to Japan, Scanlon noted that, while Japan entered a reservation on the five species of sharks, it had also expressed its willingness to comply with the Convention's requirements for export permits. Japan also offered technical support to the discussions during the 18-month preparatory period for the entry into effect of the sharks listing, including issues related to shark fin identification. [CITES Press Release on Getting ready for sharks and rays] [CITES Press Release on Japan's contribution to CITES implementation] [CITES Press Release on Meeting with 21 Branch offices of the Chinese CITES Management Authority]