Proposal to List Thresher Sharks under CITES Adopted in Committee

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Sri Lanka spoke today in favor of a proposal to list thresher sharks (Alopias spp.) at CoP17 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

A proposal (CoP17 Prop. 43) to list the genus Alopias, commonly known as the thresher sharks, under CITES Appendix II was adopted today in committee at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to CITES. The Committee’s decision must be confirmed in the CoP17 plenary. If the proposal is confirmed there will be a 12-month delay in implementation.

The proponents of the proposal include Bahamas, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Comoros, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, the European Union, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, GuineaBissau, Kenya, Maldives, Mauritania, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Ukraine. Both Japan and Iceland opposed the proposal.

The CITES Secretariat had recommended that the proposal be rejected with the following information:

Based on the information available at the time of writing, Alopias superciliosus does not meet criterion A of Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP16), Annex 2 a for its inclusion in Appendix II. The supporting statement does not refer to criterion B. If Alopias superciliosus were to be included in Appendix II, A. vulpinus and A. pelagicus would meet the criteria in Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP16), Annex 2 b criterion A, for their inclusion in Appendix II in accordance with Article II, paragraph 2 (b) of the Convention (look-alike). The Conference of the Parties, through Resolution 9.24 (Rev. CoP16), may consider the precautionary approach and in case of uncertainty regarding the status of a species or the impact of trade on the conservation of a species, shall act in the best interest of the conservation of the species concerned. The Secretariat recommends that this proposal be rejected (as the species do not meet criterion A of Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP16), Annex 2 a.

Note to Parties Important new information on the status of Alopias spp. has become available since the submission of Proposal 43. Taking this into account, the proponents may consider if it would be appropriate to submit an updated proposal at the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties and whether the species might meet criterion B.

Earlier today, a proposal to also list the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) on Appendix II was adopted in committee.

Stay tuned to the Good Catch Blog for more detailed analysis.

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About Ret Talbot

Ret Talbot is a freelance writer who covers fisheries at the intersection of science and sustainability. His work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Mongabay, Discover Magazine, Ocean Geographic and Coral Magazine. He lives on the coast of Maine with his wife, scientific illustrator Karen Talbot.
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