Dear CMS Focal Point:
As a shark advocate and global citizen, I am writing to urge action toward conservation of imperilled sharks and rays at the November 2014 Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).The widespread overfishing of sharks and rays, and the degradation of their habitats negatively affects entire marine ecosystems and squanders sources of food and recreation. Of particular importance to me is the current and potential value of shark and ray tourism for coastal communities all over the world.Although a number of countries have safeguards for sharks and rays in place, many species travel great distances, often crossing national boundaries into woefully under-protected seas. As you know well, international cooperation is vital to effective conservation of such migratory species.
Specifically, I strongly support:
- CMS Appendix I & II listing for the highly endangered sawfishes, as well as the exceptionally vulnerable reef manta and devil rays;
- CMS Appendix II listing for the heavily fished silky shark, endangered great & scalloped hammerheads, and the three threatened threshers; and
- CMS action to combat marine debris and mitigate the threats it poses to ocean animals, including migratory sharks & rays.
I believe it is high time we used all available tools to safeguard vulnerable sharks and rays. CMS is uniquely suited to boost conservation initiatives for key migratory species by facilitating regional cooperation toward sound fishing limits and habitat protection, in addition to domestic measures. In these ways, CMS can play a key role in realizing the long-term economic, social, and ecological benefits of healthy shark and ray populations.