On March 3rd, delegates from more than 170 different countries attended the meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Bangkok. At this meeting increased trade protection for five species of sharks, the oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, and three types of hammerheads are topics of discussion. These shark species are hunted for their fins and are endangered from being over fished.
Demand in Asia for shark fins which are featured as a delicacy in soup, are a main contributor for shark finning. Shark meat, liver oil and cartilage are also valuable commodities, but are not looked at as key factors for demand. Researchers estimate that 100 million sharks were killed in 2000 and 97 million in 2010. However, the real number of annual shark deaths could be between 63 million and 273 million. The small fall in the death toll from 2000 to 2010 is an encouraging sign of actions taken to outlaw finning by the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia over the past decade. Further action needs to be taken before certain shark species are wiped out entirely.
Ecologists have long predicted that the demise of top predators could trigger destructive consequences in the entire Marine Ecosystem. Maintaining the populations of top predators is critical for sustaining healthy oceanic ecosystems.
For more information or how you can help preserve our Earth’s marine ecosystems please visit GR8-White.com