Shark, Manta Ray Protection Deal Hailed as Milestone by Germany

An international agreement to restrict trade in five shark species and all Manta rays is a “milestone” for biodiversity conservation, according to Germany’s Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks.

From Sept. 14, the oceanic whitetip shark, the porbeagle shark, three hammerhead shark species along with Manta rays will be protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, Hendricks’ ministry said today in an e-mailed statement.

“Commercially very important marine resources are put under the protection of CITES for the first time,” Hendricks said. The animals join a list that already includes the Great White Shark to ensure their survival. Inclusion on the list means only products from sustainably sourced populations can be traded, the ministry said.

A quarter of all shark and ray species are threatened with extinction because of overfishing and the trade in their fins, meat and skin, the ministry said. About 100 million sharks are killed each year for commercial purposes, according to the journal Marine Policy.

Germany had pushed for inclusion of the porbeagle shark, which is mainly imported by the European Union for its meat, it said.

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