PADI is celebrating a major victory in shark conservation after governments agreed to restrict international trade in requiem sharks.
The restriction was approved at the 19th meeting of the Convention on Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora held in Panama City, Panama.
The new ban covers one of the biggest families of shark species and includes all guitar sharks and the iconic hammerhead sharks. The family also includes an additional 60 species of shark. The governments voted to approve placing requiem sharks as a whole on the CITES Appendix II list, which hopefully is a big leap forward in their protection.
Commenting on the result, Ian Campbell, associate director of policy and campaigns for the PADI AWARE Foundation, stated:
“Today’s decision to restrict the unsustainable global trade in some of the most threatened species on the planet provides us all with a hope and optimism that we are not too late to end the dramatic declines in the ocean’s most iconic, and critical, animals. The listing of requiem sharks, an iconic group of species that includes diver favorites such as the blacktip reef shark, bull shark and grey reef shark sends a strong signal that healthy populations of these animals are economically important far more than just the trade in their harvested fins, meat and organs. We commend the strong leadership and commitment to conservation shown by the government of Panama, supported by many others, to secure this much-needed trade restriction.
“We also realize that this decision is only the start of the recovery for many shark species, and the revenue-generating recreational diving sector is primed to play its role in implementing the commitments made today.”
While Julio Salvatori, the South America regional manager for PADI and technical adviser to the Panamanian government, added:
“This result, to limit the international trade in shark species that are found at the world’s most popular dive spots, will bring a huge economic boost to communities across the globe. The prospect of diving with sharks in their natural environment is a major attraction for the recreational dive sector, many of which made their concerns known to the decision-makers. We are optimistic that this can be a turning point for shark populations worldwide.”