Friday, March 8, 2013

Shark and Manta Ray Press Conference

The Pew Charitable Trusts, the non-government organization leading the advocacy for the proposals to list sharks and manta rays on CITES Appendix II, held a press conference this morning in collaboration with shark and manta ray scientists.

Dr. Demian Chapman, associate professor at Stony Brook University, presented for at least the 200th time his shark fin identification techniques. Dr. Chapman has developed a guide that trains customs and enforcement officials how to quickly recognize the fins of endangered shark species such as oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, and hammerhead, and how to differentiate them from less threatened sharks, such as blue sharks.

Guy Stevens of the Manta Trust also gave a presentation on his guide to differentiate manta ray gill rakers from mobula ray gill rakers. The guide is easy and simple to use. Both the shark and manta ray guides will be needed by CITES member countries if the proposals to list these species passes this week or next.

Elizabeth Wilson, shark policy expert from the Pew Charitable Trusts, spoke about the conservation status of the proposed shark and manta ray species. She also answered difficult questions about the level of trade, the value of the trade, and what will happen once the proposals are accepted.

Sue Lieberman, international policy expert from Pew, moderated the press conference and answered many difficult questions about the procedures of CITES. Sue has been to every CITES meeting since 1989. The 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES being held right now in Bangkok, Thailand is her 10th meeting.

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