At a recent United Nations meeting, the international community failed to protect sharks. Are they doomed?
Although millions of sharks are killed each year across the globe, countries did nothing to reduce the carnage during an international meeting last month to discuss trade in vulnerable species.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rejected trade regulations that would have given some protections to a handful of the most severely depleted sharks, including hammerheads.
But here's the good news: A majority of countries voted for safeguards to protect sharks. Their wishes were shot down only because new trade regulations needed a two-thirds vote of the 175 nations that belong to the treaty.
If a majority of nations got the message that sharks need help, there's hope. My colleagues at Pew (www.pewsharks.org) and my fellow shark attack victim friends are riding that momentum as we take our next steps to save these amazing predators.
It's time to turn up the heat on fishery managers who oversee marine resources in regional areas of the high seas. The United Nations has repeatedly asked these fishery management organizations to develop comprehensive shark fishing and conservation plans, but none have done so. Shark fishing remains mostly unregulated throughout many parts of the world. These groups finally need to set and enforce shark fishing limits.