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Nine States Join CMS Sharks MoU

CMS17 February 2014: The Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) has announced that nine States in the Arab region signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks (Sharks MoU) concluded under CMS.

The CMS Secretariat reports that the signatures reinforce the mandate to expand work on migratory sharks. The signing took place in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on the sidelines of a joint training workshop on shark conservation organized by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water. Bradnee Chambers, CMS Executive Secretary, noted that this step will help catalyze regional initiatives to reduce threats to migratory sharks.

The nine countries that signed the Sharks MoU are the UAE, Comoros, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. These countries provide breeding and feeding grounds for the whale shark, the shortfin mako shark and the great white shark. With migratory sharks crossing the high seas and national waters of different states, enhanced collaboration between countries is important to address over-fishing and other threats.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), up to 900,000 metric tons of sharks have been caught every year for the last two decades; and an estimated 70 million sharks are killed every year to support the global shark fin market. However, taking into account illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and missing data from some major fisheries nations, FAO notes that the catch figure is thought to be at least twice as high.

The CMS Sharks MOU, concluded in 2010, is the first intergovernmental treaty dedicated to migratory sharks at a global level and complements existing wildlife and fisheries agreements. With the addition of the nine countries, the number of signatories is now 29. [CMS News]