CMS lauded for protection of endangered shark species

THE Pew Charitable Trust is calling on signatories to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) to follow through on their commitments to provide greater protection for sharks, following the listing of six shark species in Appendix I and Appendix II of the CMS.

Applauding the Philippine government for its successful hosting of the 12th Conference of Parties on the CMS, KerriLynn Miller, a conservation expert on Pew’s shark-conservation project, said there are other threatened shark species experiencing global population declines.

Miller said the listing of six shark species highlighted the commitment of the 124 signatories to the CMS, as well as require concerted action toward their protection.

Appendix I prohibits the catch of any of the endangered species under the list, while Appendix II identifies the shark species in most need of conservation action, encouraging action to properly manage and protect the species throughout their migratory range.

Miller said other than the six shark species that recently received global priority for conservation, many migratory species remain vulnerable to various types of fishing gear.

In some regions, she noted the new protected shark species—the whale sharks, angel sharks and common guitarfish in the Mediterranean which are now on Appendix I, and the dusky angel and blue sharks, white-spotted wedgefish and common guitarfish on Appendix II—experienced global population declines of more than 50 percent.

She said the CMS Appendix II listings allow for the sustainable fishing of sharks.  She warned if management measures are not effectively implemented, species listed in Appendix II could qualify for stricter protections of Appendix I.

Aside from the illegal trade of these migratory wild animals, they often fell victims to fisheries bycatch, ending up as food for the fishermen.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through the Biodiversity Management Bureau, along with its partners, have developed a manual to help save stranded marine wildlife, noting fisheries bycatch is also a leading cause of population decline of a lot of marine wildlife.

Conservation advocates in the Philippines have developed a road map for the protection of sharks and rays and are now pushing for their adoption by the Philippine government.