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Brussels, 11 March 2013
Commissioners Potočnik and Damanaki welcome progress within CITES for global protection of shark species threatened by unsustainable trade
We warmly welcome the decisions at the CITES meeting today to grant extra protection to five shark species threatened by unsustainable international trade. Millions of shark specimens are traded annually, mostly for their fins. The sharks covered by the CITES decisions are highly vulnerable and have experienced alarming declines over the last years in all Oceans. These measures complement the measures already adopted recently by Regional Fisheries bodies. Moreover, new EU rules on a full ban on shark finning at sea, with no exemptions, will be entering into force in the EU. The EU worked together with the USA, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and other countries from Central America to table the measures which were approved today at the CITES Conference of the Parties. Those measures have a global coverage and will ensure that international trade only occurs if there are guarantees that it is sustainable. They will be considered for final adoption at the end of the CITES meeting on Thursday. We call upon all CITES Parties to confirm the choice that they made today. This will represent a landmark development for the protection of marine resources worldwide, for the benefits of marine resources and those who depend on it.