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Goal: 75,000 Progress: 23,998
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.

Sign Here

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

Sep 22, 2017 Linda Mattice
Sep 22, 2017 Ona Youmans
Sep 21, 2017 Kris Peterson
Sep 20, 2017 Arleen Barber
Sep 20, 2017 Diane Sposili
Sep 19, 2017 Juliane Rocha
Sep 18, 2017 Karen Moore
Sep 18, 2017 Ankita Jain
Sep 11, 2017 Liliana Elliot
Sep 11, 2017 Desari Erickson
Sep 10, 2017 Lisa Zalenski
Sep 6, 2017 Georgia Carver
Sep 5, 2017 Kristie Hatton
Sep 4, 2017 Michelyn Martirez
Aug 31, 2017 Jan Allen
Aug 31, 2017 Gillian Shults
Aug 31, 2017 Mary Kay Siegel
Aug 31, 2017 diana zimmerman
Aug 31, 2017 Patricia Anderson
Aug 31, 2017 Michele Martin
Aug 31, 2017 Victoria Desmond
Aug 31, 2017 Richard Han
Aug 31, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Aug 24, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Aug 23, 2017 Jennifer Horsmon
Aug 23, 2017 Mona Hook
Aug 23, 2017 Ann Achuff
Aug 22, 2017 Elizaveta Golubeva
Aug 22, 2017 Jeanette Glossick
Aug 22, 2017 Kathryn Robertson
Aug 22, 2017 natalie p
Aug 20, 2017 Padraic Boocock
Aug 19, 2017 Chicory James
Aug 18, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Aug 18, 2017 Anna Mai Van
Aug 17, 2017 Maria Vicareo
Aug 16, 2017 Ann Jensen
Aug 16, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Aug 15, 2017 Susanna Pohto
Aug 15, 2017 Julie Reid
Aug 13, 2017 Sandy Loney
Aug 12, 2017 Catherine Kokkinakis
Aug 12, 2017 Dan Akouro What is wrong with anyone who even begins to consider something like this is even on the brink of an alright way to behave on this wonderful gift of the planet we share and the experience that is life? So sad.
Aug 10, 2017 Ellen Seeherman
Aug 10, 2017 Judith Sloane
Aug 10, 2017 Kathy Woods
Aug 10, 2017 Diane Hall
Aug 8, 2017 Inês Correia
Aug 7, 2017 John Salventi Recently in a restaurant in Spain it was on the menu. I brought it to the attention of the owner and told him it was the reason I was leaving.
Aug 7, 2017 Justine Boneberg

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