Twenty-one species listed under Convention on Migratory Species
Quito, Ecuador. November 9, 2014. Conservationists are rejoicing at the listing of 21 species of sharks and
rays under the Appendices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), made official today in the final
plenary session of the Conference of Parties (CoP). With these listings, member countries agreed to grant strict
protection to the reef manta, the nine devil rays, and the five sawfishes, and committed to work internationally to
conserve all three species of thresher sharks, two types of hammerheads, and the silky shark.
"We are elated by the overwhelming commitment expressed by CMS Parties for safeguarding some of the
world's most imperiled shark and ray species, including the highly endangered sawfishes," said Sonja
Fordham of Shark Advocates International, a project of The Ocean Foundation. "Today's unprecedented
actions more than triple the number of shark and ray species slated for enhanced conservation initiatives."
The proposal to list the thresher sharks was brought by the EU. Silky shark listing was proposed by Egypt.
Ecuador and Costa Rica jointly proposed the two hammerhead species. Kenya put forward the sawfish
proposal while both the reef manta and devil rays were proposed by Fiji. Fifty-nine of the 120 CMS Parties
participated in this CoP.
"Manta and devil rays are exceptionally vulnerable to overexploitation, usually having just one pup every few
years," explained Ian Campbell from WWF, who served on the delegation of Fiji. "The Appendix I listing
obligates CMS Parties to ban fishing for reef manta and all devil ray species, and reflects a responsible,
precautionary approach in light of their inherent susceptibility to depletion."
Listing on CMS Appendix I commits countries to strictly protect species while Appendix II listing encourages
international cooperation towards conservation of shared species. The rays (including sawfishes) were listed
under both Appendices while the six shark species were added to Appendix II.
"From hammerheads of the Galapagos to threshers in the Philippines, sharks are incredibly popular attractions
for divers," noted Ania Budziak of Project AWARE. "With increasing recognition of the economic benefits of
associated tourism, divers' voices are playing a key role in winning protections for these iconic species."
While consensus to advance the sawfish, devil ray, hammerhead, and thresher shark proposals was reached in
Committee, Peru and Chile at the time expressed opposition to listing silky sharks on CMS Appendix II. In the
final plenary session, however, the two countries did not voice resistance, thereby clearing the way for adoption.
"We could not be more pleased that, in the end, all of the proposals to list sharks and rays under CMS were
adopted, and yet we stress that the benefits of such listings depend on concrete follow-up action by the Parties,"
said Amie Brautigam of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "We urge countries to channel the overwhelming
concern for sharks and rays demonstrated at this historic meeting into leadership towards national protections
and regional limits on fishing."
The CMS Parties also agreed a Resolution encouraging improved data collection and fisheries management for
sharks and rays.
Media contacts: Liz Morley (US): +1 843.693.5044; Domino Albert (UK): +44 (0) 7816626879.
Shark Advocates International (SAI) is a project of The Ocean Foundation established to provide leadership in advancing sound policies for sharks and rays. Based on nearly 20 years of shark conservation achievement, SAI works to secure science-based limits on shark fishing and trade, protection for endangered species, and stronger bans on shark finning.