“Jaws” made for on- the-screen drama, but it was a poor presentation of reality. The damaging image projected of sharks has also had a devastating effect upon their populations, along with our empathy and respect for their survival as species. Catching a “man eater” has become an excuse to even overfishing species that only eat plankton, such as the whale shark. Much of the battle is in education and recognizing perhaps that “Animals are Global Citizens“
Now the UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species & Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) seeks to counter the stereotype and thus the continued harm:
“Today, bringing certain sharks, including the great white shark, under CITES trade controls is emblematic of the massive changes experienced since “Jaws” first terrified beach goers. We now realize that sharks have more to fear from us than we have to fear from them and CITES has been called upon to ensure that these magnificent animals are not over-exploited through international trade” said John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES.
“Jaws” is said to have perpetuated negative stereotypes and public misunderstandings about the role of sharks and their behaviour. These perceptions are however changing, especially in light of the science on the unsustainable harvesting of some shark species that could drive them to extinction.
It is within this context of changing perceptions and better science that CITES has intervened to bring eight species of sharks under CITES trade controls, including five species being included under CITES in 2013, to ensure that any international trade in these species is legal, sustainable and traceable.
A recent study on the management of shark fisheries mentions CITES as the only legally binding measure in place to date.
In recognition of the entry into force of CITES on 1 July 1975, the CITES Secretariat is today launching two publications that further highlight its work to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of sharks.
Also, See Diplomat Artist “Animal Welfare Ambassadors” Category Archives