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Sharks and rays high on CITES #CoP17 agenda



sharks and rays

South Africa, home to one quarter of the world’s 400+ shark species, will this month host the triennial meeting of the World Wildlife Conference where strengthened protection for sharks and rays will again be high on the agenda.

Delegates from over 180 countries attending the meeting – also known as CITES #CoP17 – will receive updates on actions taken following CoP16 in Bangkok, where five shark species, namely the oceanic white tip, porbeagle and three species of hammerhead,  and all manta rays were given protection under CITES Appendix II, with trade in these species now being regulated to prevent over-exploitation.

CITES Secretary-General John E Scanlon said: “At CITES CoP16 in 2013, countries turned to CITES to assist in protecting precious marine resources from overexploitation through including five new shark species and all manta rays under CITES trade controls. Since then CITES, in close collaboration with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other partners, has demonstrated the added value of CITES in protecting sharks and rays from overexploitation. This year, at CITES #CoP17, countries are again being presented with new sharks and rays listing proposals, which they will consider and decide upon as a sovereign body, informed by the best available science.”

Globally, sharks continue to be viewed by some as feared predators, yet the survival of many species of sharks is threatened by human activity including from overfishing, over-consumption of their meat, fins and cartilage and the destruction of their habitats. Sharks play a critical role in maintaining the health and diversity of wider aquatic ecosystems and are particularly vulnerable to overexploitation owing to their late maturity, longevity and low rates of productivity.

Since 2013, CITES, with generous extra-budgetary funding from the European Union, has partnered with international organizations, in particular the FAO and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and Bodies (RFMOs and RFBs), to facilitate the implementation of the added protection measures, working particularly with developing countries. These new measures have presented both challenges and opportunities for countries in ensuring the legality, sustainability and traceability of international trade in CITES-listed sharks that are exploited commercially and traded internationally.

The EU-CITES project ‘Strengthening capacity in developing countries for sustainable wildlife management and enhanced implementation of CITES wildlife trade regulations, with particular focus on commercially exploited aquatic species,’ has enabled a number of initiatives to support implementation, including:

  • Identifying and conducting a capacity needs assessment for 34 key countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean for the implementation of the listings.
  • Prioritising regional capacity building activities to maximize reach, including through workshops, surveys and face-to-face discussions.
  • Implementing, in collaboration with FAO, regional fishery bodies and other partners, a range of demonstration activities across identified capacity needs that are scalable and can inform future capacity building support.
  • Sharing information and experience via a dedicated web portal on the CITES website.
  • Developing training and awareness-raising materials.

In addition, software has been developed for port inspectors, custom agents and fish traders to recognize shark species from a picture of the fin. iSHarkFin was the result of a collaboration between the FAO the University of Vigo and CITES, with financial support from the Government of Japan and the European Union (through the CITES project).

There are currently ten species of sharks and rays listed under CITES Appendix II, including the Basking shark, Great White Shark and Whale Shark, as well as the five shark and two manta species added to CITES Appendix II at CoP16.

Seven species of Sawfishes fall under Appendix I, which includes species threatened with extinction. Commercial trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

At CITES #CoP17 Parties will be asked to consider three more proposals to bring sharks and rays under CITES trade controls, namely to include:

  • Silky shark Carcharhinus falciformis in Appendix II
  • Thresher sharks Alopias spp. in Appendix II
  • Devil rays Mobula spp. in Appendix II

These three proposals have been assessed by the FAO Expert Panel Advisory Panel and by the CITES Secretariat. The 182 Parties to CITES meeting at #CoP17 as a sovereign body will consider all of the information presented to it and decide on whether to accept or reject these proposals. If there is no consensus on any proposal, then the matter will go to a vote with a 2/3 majority vote required for any proposal to be accepted.

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With 183 Parties, CITES remains one of the world’s most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation through the regulation of trade in wild fauna and flora. Thousands of species are internationally traded and used by people in their daily lives for food, housing, health care, ecotourism, cosmetics or fashion.

CITES regulates international trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable.

CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975.

Learn more about CITES by visiting or connecting to:

Gear News

Gear Maintenance Episode 4: Backplate and Harness Sponsored by Dive Rite (Watch Video)



Welcome to Gear Maintenance! In this episode I’m showing you how to bring an old, tattered backplate and harness back to life and giving you tips on how you can look after your scuba diving gear.

If you want to support Divers Ready! (for free!) support our sponsor for this series of videos: Dive Rite

To enter to win the XT Lite Backplate and Basic Harness from Dive Rite, you need to:

  1. Subscribe to Divers Ready! if you haven’t already:
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When a scuba diver switches from a jacket BCD to a Backplate, Harness and Wing system, it can be very hard to switch back! We’ve packed this video full of hints and tips covering storage, protection, cleaning and maintenance to help you protect the investment you’ve made in your dive equipment.

Good luck to everyone! D.S.D.O James

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Liquid Sports announce NEW colours of Hollis F1 LT Fin now in stock



Liquid Sports has announced that the NEW Colours of the Hollis F1 LT fin are now in stock at LS warehouse and ready to ship.

Already available in Grey, the NEW White & Yellow Hollis F1 LT fins have the following features:

• Short blade for easier finning in confined spaces
• Angled strap mounts for comfort & a better transition of power
• Spring heel straps with easy-grip heel tab
• Multiple strap mounting positions for a fine tuned fit
• Vented blade reduces stress while accelerating water over blade
• Generous foot pocket

F1 LT Yellow RRP £139.95 – Product code: 214.2207.xx 

F1 LT White RRP £139.95 – Product code: 214.2211.xx 

For more information visit the Liquid Sports website by clicking here.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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