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Goal: 75,000 Progress: 23,524
Sponsored by: The Rainforest Site

Shark finning is an atrocious act that, despite a recent dip in popularity, continues to threaten dozens of species of endangered sharks in the name of shark fin soup — a traditionally aristocratic delicacy that has a newfound niche in China's emerging middle class. Fishermen, responding to demand, catch the sharks, cut off their fins, and toss the less valuable "meat" (that is, the still-living creature they just mutilated) back into the water, where the shark will subsequently die from blood loss or suffocation.

This outmoded tradition began as a way for the wealthy to show superiority over the apex predators of the ocean, and to impress their guests with barbaric prowess. Today, the slaughter continues in excess, despite humans' clear predatory superiority. Twenty-five percent of known shark species are now on the verge of extinction, which has interrupted the balance of countless oceanic ecosystems, and has had huge economic impacts.

Sharks play an important role in the maintenance of their habitats. When their numbers drop — as they have been, due to exploitation and slow recovery rates — a ripple effect can disrupt the populations of their prey, and their prey's prey, ultimately costing fisheries and the larger community a lot more than the few hundred dollars per shark market price. Incidentally, shark meat has virtually no taste, and may contain dangerous levels of mercury, making it unsafe to eat.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) treaty has been fighting to preserve sharks for decades, yet only offers protections for eight shark species — a mere fraction of those that are threatened with extinction from finning. Sign the petition asking CITES Secretary-General to ramp up efforts, and to expand the protective scope of CITES to include all threatened, vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered sharks.

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To the Secretary-General of CITES,

First, I would like to thank you for the work you do to protect sharks and other chondrichthyans from exploitation and illegal fishing. The CITES shark and manta ray conservation program has no doubt had a significant impact on countless marine ecosystems, and is an essential complement to regionally specific protection measures.

However, despite regulations and conservation efforts, shark finning continues to drive down populations for threatened and endangered sharks. A recent report from the IUCN Shark Specialist Group found that, due to exploitation and slow recovery rates, about one in four known species of sharks is either threatened, vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered — about 100 more species than you currently list for protection.

In March 2013, you added four shark species to the CITES Appendices — an important step to providing safeguards for the sharks that need them the most. You will recall, though, that protection measures were delayed for eighteen months to allow sufficient time for Parties to prepare for implementation. That's a nearly two-year wait to add protections for four species — meanwhile, one new species of shark is described every two or three weeks. For reproductively sluggish shark species, eighteen months could mean the difference between survival and untimely extinction.

That is why I would like to urge you to take action to immediately extend protections to all threatened, vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered sharks.

CITES is the global authority on shark species protections, and an aggressive expansion of its conservation measures could have the cogency to resolve the current shark population crisis. With your help, we may be able to save these apex predators, and ultimately the entire oceanic ecosystem, before it's too late.

Thank you.

Petition Signatures


May 28, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 28, 2017 Louise Coulson
May 28, 2017 Kirsten Bilderaya
May 28, 2017 Joshua Santos
May 27, 2017 Barbara Varouhas
May 27, 2017 Lois Nottingham
May 27, 2017 Sally Friedman
May 27, 2017 Kat Klahn
May 26, 2017 Veronica McCarthy
May 25, 2017 Evelyn Betancourt
May 25, 2017 Laura Gwin
May 24, 2017 Jennifer Robnett
May 24, 2017 Cheryl Vivian
May 24, 2017 Nancy McCauley
May 24, 2017 Nick Marino
May 23, 2017 Leela Beaudry
May 22, 2017 Adriana Aquino
May 21, 2017 Cynthia Super
May 21, 2017 Kathy Kearns
May 21, 2017 Alan Knowles
May 20, 2017 (Name not displayed) Please pursue this heinous practice and put an end to it!!!
May 20, 2017 Michelle Hopkins This is inhumane, brutal and ignorant. Stop this senseless and disgusting crime against innocent animals!
May 20, 2017 Patricia Palotas Save our oceans
May 20, 2017 Mary Hoffman Sharks are a necessary part of the ecosystem and must be saved from this ignorant practice!
May 20, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 20, 2017 Graeme Phelan
May 20, 2017 Tim Martin
May 20, 2017 jean-marc levesque
May 20, 2017 Shirley Troia
May 20, 2017 Sandy Stephens
May 20, 2017 Kathleen Lake
May 20, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 20, 2017 Melissa Bowyer
May 20, 2017 Sarah R Burns
May 20, 2017 nicholas thorneycroft
May 20, 2017 Ann Bellefroid
May 20, 2017 (Name not displayed)
May 20, 2017 Sarah Axworthy Barbaric and pointlessly self indulgent.
May 19, 2017 Lorraine Celico Apart from the marine ecosystem suffering from their loss, this is a cruel and inhumane practice. It must stop.
May 19, 2017 Kevin McNamara
May 19, 2017 Yvonne Albrecht
May 19, 2017 Candace Wilhelm
May 19, 2017 Marcelle Hunt
May 19, 2017 Deborah Adams
May 19, 2017 Janet Boone
May 19, 2017 JANET FUNICELLI
May 19, 2017 Robert Williams
May 19, 2017 Linda Pylican
May 19, 2017 Jacquelyn Clarke
May 19, 2017 Nancy Findlay

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