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Most fished shark in the world denied protection at UN

Most fished shark in the world denied protection at UN meeting

Humane Society International says the rejection of the blue shark for increased conservation efforts at a UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) shark meeting is a terrible outcome for the species which is caught in numbers up to 20 million every year.

A majority of countries who make up the CMS Sharks Memorandum of Understanding (CMS Sharks MOU), at a meeting in Monaco this week, wanted to work together to conserve the blue shark. Australia, New Zealand, the United States and South Africa all spoke out against the proposal and so the species was denied.

"It will now be three years until the blue shark can be proposed again for listing under this international agreement. In that time, another 30 to 60 million blue sharks will be caught and killed without the international cooperation and attention that this species sorely needs. It is deeply disappointing that Australia, which used to be a champion for shark protection, spoke out against the listing,” said Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns at Humane Society International.

The blue shark is the most heavily fished shark in the world, and despite the lack of any sort of conservation-based management, was rejected for listing because data suggesting major declines was not enough to sway its opponents.

"Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) throughout the world do nothing to slow the catch of blue sharks. We know that 60% of the range of this highly migratory shark overlaps with tuna fisheries, making this the perfect candidate for the CMS Sharks MOU and its strategy to engage with RFMOs to address unsustainable shark fishing. We are extremely disappointed that this opportunity has been missed,” said Lawrence Chlebeck, Marine Campaigner at Humane Society International.

The meeting did see six new species of sharks and rays added to the sharks MOU. The angelshark, dusky shark, the common guitarfish, the bottlenose wedgefish, the oceanic whitetip shark, and the smooth hammerhead will now be listed for conservation through the MOU. Humane Society International is an official partner to the CMS Sharks MOU and looks forward to assisting in the conservation of the six species that were added to the agreement.

Humane Society International and all other NGOs in attendance spoke in favour of listing of all seven species up for protection at the CMS meeting, and will continue to advocate for the blue shark to be conserved around the world despite the outcome of the CMS Sharks MOU.

https://www.cms.int/sharks/en/MOS3


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