Into The Deep: Implementing CITES Measures For Commercially-Valuable Sharks And Manta Rays

Mundy-Taylor V, Crook V (2013) Into The Deep: Implementing CITES Measures For Commercially-Valuable Sharks And Manta Rays. Report prepared for the European Commission, European Union

Over the past twenty years, the conservation and management of sharks has been the subject of much attention and discussion among Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). During this period, a significant amount of research and information has been generated on this issue within CITES processes, with Parties also having adopted a number of recommendations for action in the form of CITES Resolutions and Decisions, and proposals for listing of various shark species (Basking Shark Cetorhinus maximus, the Whale Shark Rhincodon typus, the Great White Shark Carcharodon carcharias and Sawfish Pristidae spp.) in the CITES Appendices. A summary of CITES processes related to shark conservation and management, from 1994 to present, is provided in Appendix A.
At the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) held in Bangkok, Thailand, in March 2013, four new proposals to list a number of commercially important marine species in Appendix II of CITES were adopted as follows:
- Oceanic Whitetip shark Carcharhinus longimanus;
- Porbeagle Lamna nasus
- Scalloped Hammerhead shark Sphyrna lewini, Great Hammerhead shark Sphyrna mokarran, and Smooth Hammerhead shark Sphyrna zygaena (hereafter referred to collectively as “Hammerheads”)1
- Manta rays Manta spp.
The entry into effect of the above listings has been delayed by 18 months to 14 September 2014, to enable Parties to resolve related technical and administrative issues. At CoP16, the European Union (EU) announced that it was providing funding through the CITES Secretariat to support capacity building for the implementation of the CITES listings of commercially-valuable marine species, with a focus on developing Parties. In order to ensure the effective allocation of these funds, the European Commission requested that TRAFFIC carry out a rapid assessment of capacity building priorities and needs.
Consequently, the aim of this Report was to compile and collate readily available information on: (i) the main Parties likely to be affected by the listings; (ii) international, regional and domestic regulations and measures that may be mutually supportive of, and complementary to, the listings; (iii) the main challenges expected in relation to implementation of the listings; and (iv) any existing or planned capacity building initiatives and tools available to support the listings, in addition to potential gaps and needs.
The Report is composed of the following four main Parts:
I. Key exporters, re-exporters and consumers of the shark and ray species listed in the CITES Appendices at CoP16
II. International, regional and domestic policies, regulations and measures relevant to CITES implementation
III. Implementation of the CITES CoP16 shark and ray listings: challenges, available resources and capacity building initiatives
IV. Overview of key gaps in capacity and priorities for future work.
Additional/supporting information is provided in Appendices A to P.