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CITES delegates move to protect more than 500 wildlife species, including nearly 100 sharks and rays

CITES, run by a secretariat in Geneva, sets the rules for international trade in wild fauna and flora and serves as a tool to ensure sustainability and to respond to losses in biodiversity by preventing and reversing declines in wildlife populations.

The new species that will be listed on CITES include nearly 100 species of sharks and rays
The new species that will be listed on CITES, and their international trade consequently regulated, include nearly 100 species of sharks and rays. (AN/Jakob Owens / Unsplash)

Delegates to an international conference for protecting wildlife adopted proposals to regulate international trade in more than 500 new species, including the first regulations aimed at the shark fin trade that each year kills off millions of sharks.

Representatives of more than 160 governments that are part of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, voted to limit or regulate commercial trade dozens of shark species, including the tiger, bull and blue sharks most targeted for the fin trade, and shark-like rays.

The summit voted to protect 100 species of sharks and rays, more than 150 tree species, 160 amphibian species, including tropical frogs, 50 turtle and tortoise species and several species of songbirds – all of which have suffered declining populations in recent years.

The votes came at the end of two weeks of negotiations during a summit in Panama, where delegates adopted 46 of the 52 proposals that were put forward.

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