Science Daily: New Listing to Protect 21 Species of Sharks and Rays

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New listing to protect 21 species of sharks and rays
November 10, 2014
Wildlife Conservation Society
Conservationists are rejoicing at the listing of 21 species of sharks and rays under the Appendices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), made official today in the final plenary session of the Conference of Parties (CoP). With these listings, member countries agreed to grant strict protection to the reef manta, the nine devil rays, and the five sawfishes, and committed to work internationally to conserve all three species of thresher sharks, two types of hammerheads, and the silky shark.

“We are elated by the overwhelming commitment expressed by CMS Parties for safeguarding some of the world’s most imperiled shark and ray species, including the highly endangered sawfishes,” said Sonja Fordham of Shark Advocates International, a project of The Ocean Foundation. “Today’s unprecedented actions more than triple the number of shark and ray species slated for enhanced conservation initiatives.”

The proposal to list the thresher sharks was brought by the EU. Silky shark listing was proposed by Egypt. Ecuador and Costa Rica jointly proposed the two hammerhead species. Kenya put forward the sawfish proposal while both the reef manta and devil rays were proposed by Fiji. Fifty-nine of the 120 CMS Parties participated in this CoP.

“Manta and devil rays are exceptionally vulnerable to overexploitation, usually having just one pup every few years,” explained Ian Campbell from WWF, who served on the delegation of Fiji. “The Appendix I listing obligates CMS Parties to ban fishing for reef manta and all devil ray species, and reflects a responsible, precautionary approach in light of their inherent susceptibility to depletion.”

Listing on CMS Appendix I commits countries to strictly protect species while Appendix II listing encourages international cooperation towards conservation of shared species. The rays (including sawfishes) were listed under both Appendices while the six shark species were added to Appendix II.

“From hammerheads of the Galapagos to threshers in the Philippines, sharks are incredibly popular attractions for divers,” noted Ania Budziak of Project AWARE. “With increasing recognition of the economic benefits of associated tourism, divers’ voices are playing a key role in winning protections for these iconic species.”

While consensus to advance the sawfish, devil ray, hammerhead, and thresher shark proposals was reached in Committee, Peru and Chile at the time expressed opposition to listing silky sharks on CMS Appendix II. In the final plenary session, however, the two countries did not voice resistance, thereby clearing the way for adoption.

“We could not be more pleased that, in the end, all of the proposals to list sharks and rays under CMS were adopted, and yet we stress that the benefits of such listings depend on concrete follow-up action by the Parties,” said Amie Brautigam of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “We urge countries to channel the overwhelming concern for sharks and rays demonstrated at this historic meeting into leadership towards national protections and regional limits on fishing.”

The CMS Parties also agreed a Resolution encouraging improved data collection and fisheries management for sharks and rays.

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The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Wildlife Conservation Society. “New listing to protect 21 species of sharks and rays.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2014. .

Special thanks to Robert F. Bolland, Ph.D

[Coral-List] New Paper: Native Predators Do Not Control Lionfish by John Bruno

July 12, 2013

We surveyed the abundance (density and biomass) of lionfish and native predatory fishes that could interact with lionfish (either through predation or competition) on 71 reefs in three biogeographic regions of the Caribbean. We found no relationship between the density or biomass of lionfish and that of native predators. Our results suggest that interactions with native predators do not influence the colonization or post-establishment population density of invasive lionfish on Caribbean reefs.

That does not mean native predators never eat lionfish. They probably do. But they don’t appear to measurably control lionfish populations. Furthermore, overfishing was not the cause (or a contributing factor) of the invasion. The “cause” was the introduction itself. Previous observations of reduced lionfish density within MPAs (e.g., Mumby et al 2011), which our results confirm, appear to be due to targeted culling by park managers rather than higher predator biomass.

John F Bruno, PhD
Department of Biology
UNC Chapel Hill (