More shark species gain protection under global trade rules

A landmark vote by nearly 200 countries in November 2022 increased the protection of more shark species from trade exploitation. 

BBC News environment correspondent Helen Briggs announced the milestone vote on 17 November to add more shark species to the list of species protected under global trade rules.

Sand Tiger Shark

The newly-added shark species include tiger sharks and six small hammerhead sharks. The two different shark species make up over 50% of the trade in shark fins (for shark fin soup).

The ‘list’ is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) of Wild Flora and Fauna which regulates cross-border trade in wild plants and animals. Adding the species of sharks to the list means that a country wanting to trade has to issue a permit to exporters and produce a document certifying that scientists have shown that the permitted trade does not damage wild populations.

The vote occurred at the 19th Annual Conference of the Parties in Panama, held from 14-25 November 2022, to discuss new proposals to protect sharks, turtles, songbirds, and other species. The shark vote decision has yet to be signed at the end of the two-week meeting, but it is likely to be finalised with no challenges.

The United Kingdom was one of the signature countries, and announced funding of 4 million pounds to help fight wildlife crime.

Hammerhead Shark
Hammerhead Shark
Hammerhead Shark

Location of photographs: Aquarium de Paris-Cinéaqua and the New York Aquarium, America

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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