Update: 6:16PM THE trade in five species of sharks and manta rays will be regulated by 178 countries, including Fiji.
This after lack of support on a request to reopen the debate on the
proposal to include scalloped hammerhead shark, great hammerhead shark
and smooth hammerhead shark (sphyrna lewini, s mokarran and s zygaena)
in a protected listing of the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Japan did not get the one-third required votes against the oceanic
whitetip shark (carcharhinus longimanus) in appendix II - which requires
countries to regulate trade of a species by issuing export permits to
ensure their sustainability in the wild - and conservationists rejoiced.
Failure to comply with the decision can result in sanctions against any country.
CITES members at the meeting in Bangkok who worked hard to lobby support
for the sharks faced strong opposition from Japan and China, whose
growing population with an appetite for shark fin soup has led to a
worldwide decline in sharks.
"This is great news for our people," said Fiji shark campaigner Manoa Rasigatale.
"Without the sharks our marine ecosystem will collapse. We now have a chance to save them and our ecosystem."
In a recent survey, scientists estimated 100 million sharks are killed annually for the fin trade.