Great White Shark Wins International Protection



CONTACT:          Adam Roberts, Animal Welfare Institute
2255-3767 Room 1104 (Bangkok)
07-126-1466 (Bangkok mobile)

October 6, 2004

Will Travers, Born Free Foundation
2255-3767 Room 1103 (Bangkok)
01-302-5974 (Bangkok mobile)



Bangkok, Thailand—In a stunning victory, the much-maligned great white shark has won international trade protection today under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in a vitally important vote in Committee.  Trade regulation through CITES would greatly enhance domestic measures to protect this species and support its listing on the Convention on Migratory Species.


"This globally-threatened, slow growing, long lived marine predator needs global help more than ever," noted Nicola Beynon Humane Society International spokesperson and Chair of the SSN Fish Working Group.  "Without immediate international action under CITES, the global trade in shark jaws, fins, and teeth will exacerbate its decline across its range.  We simply cannot stand by while this species, which has roamed the oceans for millions of years, is decimated by human greed."


"In fact," added Adam Roberts, Executive Director of the Animal Welfare Institute and an Officer of the Species Survival Network, "one set of jaws from a great white shark from South Africa was valued at $50,000, with small jaw sets fetching between $10,000 and $20,000.  Even individual teeth can go for hundreds of dollars."


Carroll Muffett, Director of International Programs for Defenders of Wildlife added, "On the first day of the meeting we found hundreds of great white shark teeth and two complete sets of jaws for sale on the internet, completely unregulated.  Demand like that and ease of purchase creates a huge incentive for fishermen to kill great whites wherever they find them—whether they're targeted internationally or caught accidentally in nets or fishing lines."


Australia and Madagascar introduced the proposal, which was approved by an overwhelming majority vote: 87 in favor, 34 against, and 9 abstentions. "Australia and Madagascar deserve high praise for acting on behalf of the 45 nations serving as range States for the species," Beynon added. "The vulnerable great white has been subjected to significant population declines, but we're confident that listing on Appendix II of CITES will help halt this precipitous decline and allow the species to recover over time."

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