On Sept. 14, five species of sharks and two species of manta ray will be protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international agreement between governments.
The new species, included in Appendix II of the agreement, are now subject to strict international trade controls. The marine dwellers are not all necessarily threatened with extinction, but trade is controlled to protect the survival of their populations as a whole.
A workshop ahead of the new listings is being held this week in Chennai, India, where the illegal shark fin trade still flourishes. In a video announcement shared at the meeting, CITES secretary general John Scanlon said, "We are moving from theory to practice," referring to implementation of the new listings. He indicated that multiple entities -- from governments to conservation groups -- are coming together for the effort.
The oceanic whitetip shark is one of the five new listed sharks. According to a CITES fact sheet, the fins of this shark "are in demand and of high value on the international market."