Today at the conference, Germany, a long-time champion of the spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) and porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus), hosted a briefing on proposals to list the two commercially valuable species under CITES Appendix II. Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but for which trade must be controlled in order to avoid threats to their survival. After being developed by Germany, the listing proposals were officially submitted to CITES by Sweden, on behalf of European Union (EU) Member States, and co-sponsored by Palau, writes Sonja Fordham, of IUCN's Shark Specialist Group.
From a podium next to a gigantic image of a porbeagle shark, representatives of the German government, Spain (the current holder of the EU Presidency), the European Commission, and Palau outlined the arguments for listing made in the proposals, highlighting the biological vulnerability, population depletion, and international trade associated with both species. In an effort to improve delegates’ understanding of the reasons for and impacts of an Appendix II listing for the two sharks, Spain (on behalf of the EU and its Member States) provided a document of “Frequently Asked Questions” and answers in several languages.
After the speeches, delegates discussed the key issues against the backdrop of a spiny dogfish image. Formal discussion on the EU shark proposals, as well as two additional shark proposals offered by the United States and Palau, is expected to begin later this week.