24 Mar 2010:
Regulation of Shark Trade
Is Latest Proposal to Fail at Global Talks
International delegates rejected three of four proposals to regulate the trade of sharks
under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the latest in a series of failed efforts to protect beleaguered species at the global talks. Delegates from China, the world’s largest consumer of shark for use in sharkfin soup, and Japan led the fight against tighter regulations that would have affected several shark species, including the scalloped hammerhead, oceanic whitetip, and spiny dogfish. Japan also scored a victory last week when it helped defeat a ban of the trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna, a fish whose numbers have dwindled for decades because of overfishing. Among proposals to protect shark species, only a measure to regulate the trade of the porbeagle shark, a relative of the great white shark, was approved at the conference. “We will continue to pursue our efforts to protect sharks from eradication by the decadent and cruel process of shark-finning,” said Stuart Beck, Palau’s ambassador to the UN. “I am sure that, properly prepared, bald eagle is delicious. But, as civilized people, we simply do not eat it.” Delegates at the CITES conference also defeated a U.S. proposal to ban trade in polar bear skins and parts.
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