Wednesday, March 13, 2013

CITES CoP16: Hammerhead Shark Proposal and Updates

Proposal 43 - Inclusion of scalloped, great and smooth hammerheads in Appendix II


Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, Denmark on behalf of the European Union, and Mexico, proposed three species of hammerhead sharks for inclusion in Appendix II. The three species proposed are the Scalloped hammerhead, Sphyrna lewini, the Great hammerhead, S. mokarran, and the Smooth hammerhead, S. zygaena. The two later species are included in this proposal due to their similarity as “look-alike” species. Declines in scalloped hammerhead sharks from the mid 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s to recent years range from 98%, 89% and 26%-89% respectively in the northwest Atlantic, and 98% in the southwest Atlantic. Significant declines have been reported in the Indian Ocean, and in the Mediterranean there has been a decline of 99.9% in the past century.


Hammerhead sharks are some of the most frequently illegally fished of all shark species. Trade in meat and other products of hammerheads are insignificant compared with the trade in their fins. Their fins are primary products in international trade.

Speaking in favor of the proposal were delegates from Mexico, United States, Ireland on behalf of the European Union and Croatia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Ecuador (noting that populations of hammerhead sharks are dropping dramatically), Honduras, Maldives (noting that they have totally banned shark and manta ray fisheries), New Zealand, Nigeria, Seychelles, Somalia, Yemen, Sierra Leone (their delegate was eloquent. He reminded  delegates  that Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) do not regulate international trade. He also said CITES is a key instrument in maintaining biodiversity and regulation of international trade, and questioned if an Appendix II is enough to protect the species).

Opposing the proposal were Japan, Cambodia, Ghana (who claimed to be expressing the views of 22 Parties in West Africa),   Mozambique, Namibia, China (expressing doubts that an Appendix II listing will be enforceable and urged Parties to initiate RFMOs if they have not already done so). India asserted that the only consideration should be the biological criteria and feels data on status of the species in their waters and the Indian Ocean are inadequate.

The Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations (FAO) concluded that the scalloped hammerhead met the criteria for listing on Appendix II and some populations met the criteria for Appendix I. Two NGOs were allowed to speak: The Wildlife Conservation Society which supported the listing, and IWMC which opposed it

China requested a secret ballot and received the needed 10 seconds. The proposal achieved the required 2/3rds vote: 91 (70%) votes in favor, 39 against, 8 abstentions.


THE PROPOSAL TO LIST THREE SPECIES OF HAMMERHEAD SHARKS WAS APPROVED.  AWAITING RATIFICATION 




As Reported By

Marie Levine
Executive Director
Shark Research Institute



CITES CoP16: Oceanic Whitetip Shark Proposal and Updates


Proposal 42.  Colombia, Brazil and the USA proposed the Oceanic whitetip shark, Carcharhinus longimanus, for Appendix II. 


The species has suffered drastic declines. Populations of oceanic whitetip sharks have declined by >99% in the Gulf of Mexico, and 60% to 70% in the northwest and central Pacific Ocean. Threats to the species are bycatch in pelagic longline and driftnet fisheries for swordfish and tuna, and the unsustainable harvest for the international fin trade. Their fins are easily identifiable and one of the most common shark fins in trade. The species clearly meets the criteria for listing on Appendix II.


Speaking in favor of the proposal were delegates from  Honduras, Venezuela, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Liberia, Benin, Congo, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and the Bahamas, who noting shark tourism has contributed $800 million to their local economy. Ireland on behalf of the European Union also spoke in favor of the proposal and offered to provide $1.2 million to assist in capacity building for the species. The FAO stated the species meets all the scientific criteria for an Appendix II listing.

China opposed the listing,  claiming that a finning ban would be a more effective conservation measure than an Appendix II listing. The delegate from Singapore said they are opposing  all the shark proposals. Japan, Thailand, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada rejected the proposal stating  conservation should be handled at the regional level. Grenada questioned the 18-month delay in implementation contained in the proposal to allow time to iron out technical aspects, and both the CITES Secretariat and Brazil responded they will provide any necessary technical support to the Parties.

The  Chair accepted interventions from two NGOs: Pew Environmental Group, which spoke in support of the proposal; and IWFC, but IWFC passed the microphone to the International Coalition of Fisheries who opposed the proposalalthough admitting the species meets the biological criteria for the Appendix II listing.

The Russian Federation stated that it will abstain from the vote.

Japan moved for a secret ballot and received the necessary 10 seconds for a secret ballot.

Proposals require a 2/3rds vote of the Partiess for acceptance. There were 92 votes in favor (68.66%), 42 opposed (31.24%) with 8 abstentions.

THE OCEANIC WHITETIP SHARK PROPOSAL WAS ACCEPTED


As Reported By
Marie Levine

Executive Director
Shark Research Institute



Saturday, March 9, 2013

¿Qué es la CITES? ¿Por qué es importante?



CITES es la sigla de la "Convención sobre el Comercio Internacional de Especies Amenazadas de Fauna y Flora Silvestres" Este es un tratado, compuesto por 178 países, fue creada en respuesta a una resolución elaborada por la Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (UICN).

El objetivo de la CITES es determinar las normas internacionales de comercio. Su objetivo es asegurar que el comercio internacional no amenace la supervivencia de cualquier planta o animal. Aproximadamente 33.000 especies bajo el paraguas de la protección de la CITES, alrededor de 5.000 de estas especies son animales. Especies propuestas son discutidas y entonces los países miembros votan si les gustaría poner a la especie en una de las tres apéndices (Apéndice I, II o III) cada apéndice refleja un nivel diferente de amenaza y sugiere las sanciones que deben ser considerados para los animales en esa categoría.

Los niveles adecuados para las especies incluidas en el Apéndice propuestas se decidió en la Conferencia de las Partes (CoP), realiza aproximadamente cada tres años. En esta reunión, la flora y la fauna se pueden añadir a los apéndices, promovido, degradado o eliminado. La categoría en la que se coloca la especie determinará la protección internacional que se produce.

Los países miembros del tratado están obligados a respetar las leyes creadas por el consenso de la CITES. Malentendido común es que la CITES en una reunión de la conservación. Mientras que las ONG nacionales e internacionales pueden solicitar su participación, los miembros votantes son delegados enviados por su país para representar los intereses nacionales de ese país miembro. Si el animal o planta que se propone para las sanciones representa una fuente de ingresos altos o si la muestra es muy importante en el país miembro, los delegados pueden ser instruidos a votar en contra de las sanciones protección.

La 16 ª Reunión de la Conferencia de las Partes de la CITES está en curso durante la redacción de este blog. Se está llevando a cabo en Bangkok, Tailandia, del 3 hasta 14 de marzo. De particular interés para Mar Save Foundation es la propuesta de añadir los tiburones martillo festoneados, grandes tiburones martillo, tiburones cailón y manta rayas en la CITES Apéndice II. Esta vez brindaría una mayor atención y protección a estas especies, y también permitiría a los científicos recopilar datos más fiables sobre el número de tiburones y la dispersión.

Argumentos actuales planteados en contra de esta propuesta son los siguientes: a) que los datos recogidos no tiene un argumento de peso, b), sería muy difícil que los funcionarios de aduanas para diferenciar las aletas de especies protegidas frente a especies no protegidas. Estas consultas han sido claramente abordada por los científicos en el sitio.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Qu'est-ce que la CITES? Pourquoi est-il important?



La CITES est l'acronyme de "Convention sur le commerce international des espèces de faune et de flore sauvages" C'est un traité, composé de 178 pays, qui a été crée en réponse à une résolution rédigée par l'Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature (UICN).

Le but de la CITES est de déterminer les réglementations commerciales internationales. Elle est destinée à assurer que le commerce international ne menace pas la survie de toute plante ou animal. Environ 33.000 espèces tombent dans l'escarcelle de la protection de la CITES, environ 5.000 de ces espèces sont des animaux. Les espèces proposées sont examinées et les pays membres doivent voter si ils aimeraient mettre l'espèce dans une des trois annexes (annexe I, l'annexe II ou à l'Annexe III) chaque annexe reflète un niveau différent de danger et propose des sanctions qui devraient être pris en considération pour les animaux cette catégorie.

 Les choix d'annexes appropriées pour les espèces proposées sont décidées lors de la Conférence des Parties (CdP) qui a lieu environ tous les trois ans. Lors de cette réunion, la flore et la faune peuvent être ajoutés aux annexes, promus, rétrogradés ou supprimés. La catégorie dans laquelle l'espèce est placée déterminera la protection internationale qui lui sera accordé.

Les pays membres de la convention sont tenus de respecter les lois créées par consensus de la CITES. Le malentendu commun est que la CITES ne soit qu' une réunion de conservation. Alors que les ONG nationales et internationales peuvent demander à participer, les membres votants sont délégués et envoyés par leur pays pour représenter les intérêts nationaux de ce pays membre. Si l'animal ou la plante proposé pour des sanctions représente une source de revenus élevés ou si le spécimen est fortement importé dans le pays membre, les délégués peuvent être chargés de voter contre les sanctions de protection.

 La 16e réunion de la Conférence des Parties à la CITES a lieu lors de la rédaction de ce blog. Elle se déroule à Bangkok, Thaïlande, du 3 au 14 mars. L'intêret majeur de Sea Save Foundation est devoir ajouter la proposition pour les requins-marteau halicorne, grands requins- marteaux, requins-taupes communs et les raies manta à l'Annexe II. Ce serait en même temps permettre une plus grande attention et protection de ces espèces et permettrait également aux scientifiques de recueillir des données plus fiables sur le nombre de requins et leur répartition.

Les arguments actuels avancés contre cette proposition sont les suivants:

 a) les données recueillies ne permettent pas un argument convaincant,

 b) il serait trop difficile pour les agents des douanes de distinguer les ailerons des espèces protégées par rapport aux ailerons des espèces non protégées. Ces requêtes ont été clairement abordée par les scientifiques sur place.

Merci Fabienne Rossier pour la traduction de ce blog.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What is CITES? Why is it Important?


CITES is the acronym for the "Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora." This treaty, comprised of 178 countries, was created in response to a resolution drafted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


The purpose of CITES is to ensure that international trade does not threaten the survival of any plant or animal. Approximately 33,000 species fall under the CITES umbrella of protection, approximately 5,000 of which are animals. Proposed species are discussed, and member countries vote if they would like to place the species in one of three appendices (Appendix I, Appendix II or Appendix III). Each Appendix reflects a different level of endangerment and suggests sanctions that should be considered for animals in that category.

Appropriate Appendix levels for proposed species are decided at the Conference of the Parties (CoP), held approximately every three years. At this meeting, flora and fauna can be added to Appendices, promoted, demoted or deleted. The category in which the species is placed will determine the international protection it is afforded.

Member countries of the treaty are bound to abide by the laws created by CITES consensus. A common misunderstanding is that CITES is a conservation meeting. While national and international NGOs may apply to participate, voting members are delegates sent by their home countries to represent the national interests of that member country. If the animal or plant being proposed for sanctions represents a high revenue stream or if the specimen is heavily imported into the member country, delegates may be instructed to vote against protective sanctions.

The 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES is in progress right now in Bangkok, Thailand, from March 3-14. Of particular interest for Sea Save Foundation is the proposal to add Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, Great Hammerhead Sharks, Porbeagle Sharks and Manta Rays to CITES Appendix II. This would simultaneously afford greater attention and protection to these species and would allow scientists to collect more reliable data about shark numbers and dispersal.

Current arguments against this proposal include the following: a) the collected data does not make a compelling argument, and b) it would be too difficult for customs officials to differentiate fins from protected species vs non-protected species. These queries have been clearly addressed by scientists on site.




Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday Mornings in Malibu


Malibu Climate Conditions:

High Temperature: 66
Sea Temperature: 51
Surf: 2-3 Feet
Shark Sightings in Malibu: None

Last month, the California Fish and Game commission unanimously voted to add more protections to great white sharks; putting them on the California endangered species list.  The new law goes into effect when their report goes public. Now, under the new protections, scientists and fishermen have to apply to the Department of Fish and Wildlife for permits to tag great whites.
This news coincidentally comes during the beginning of the CITES Convention in Bangkok Thailand. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
Yesterday, the CITES conference opened with the call to combat overfishing, illegal logging and wildlife crime. According to yesterday's CITES press release, "70 proposals submitted by 55 countries from across the world seek to improve the conservation and sustainability use of marine species (including several shark species)."
As the conference continues into next week, Monday Mornings in Malibu will have more updates as they come.


Author: Adam



Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday Mornings in Malibu


Malibu Climate Conditions:

High Temperature: 69
Sea Temperature: 54
Surf: 2-4 Feet
Shark Sightings in Malibu: None


The term "shark attack" is often thrown around. According to a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences by the University of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, they make different classifications .

For example: 
Shark sightings: When sharks are seen close to people in the water, and there is no shark-human contact.
»Shark encounters: When there is contact between a shark and a human or an inanimate object holding the human, and the human suffers no injury. This would include when a shark bites a surfboard or kayak.
»Shark bites: When a shark bites a person, resulting in minor to moderate injuries.
»Fatal shark bites: When a shark kills a human.

According to their classification, shark encounters are often misinterpreted as a shark attacks. Their classifications are slightly blurred. If a shark did not bite a person but continues to open its mouth and bite at a surfer's board or kayak does not classify it to be an official shark attack/shark bite is puzzling. Is this due to the shark's possible inquisitive nature of curiosity and not out of aggression. Sharks often bite out of curiosity or insecurity. At the same time, sharks bump or nudge surfers in curiosity as well. Regardless, the classifications are an important step in distinguishing the types of interactions that occur between humans and sharks. This is in the hope of reducing the fear and sensationalism that is associated every time a non shark bite occurs.




Source: Florida Today Article

Author: Adam













- "Mother Nature needs her vital signs checked just as much as humans do."

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Mornings in Malibu


Malibu Climate Conditions:

High Temperature: 62
Sea Temperature: 53
Surf: 2-4 Feet
Shark Sightings in Malibu: None

The latest buzz over OCEARCH's recent tagging of two great white sharks on the New England Coast has opened eyes. This is due to the fact both sharks migrated south to Florida since being tagged in the fall. The question now arises, what can we learn from all of this? Are the sharks looking for potential mates? Or is this their normal predatory path for food? It remains to be seen whether or not these two sharks named "Mary Lee" and "Genie" are goofing off in the warmer waters of Florida or there is more of a scientific explanation for their migration pattern.


Author: Adam













- "Mother Nature needs her vital signs checked just as much as humans do."