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Goal: 75,000 Progress: 23,399
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

Mar 23, 2017 Veronica Falcon
Mar 22, 2017 MIRELLA SANTI
Mar 20, 2017 Maria Kagelind
Mar 20, 2017 Fran Guterl
Mar 20, 2017 OSVALDO TOMAS
Mar 20, 2017 Pia Heyn
Mar 20, 2017 Sheila Ward
Mar 20, 2017 Linda Cook
Mar 19, 2017 Nicole Lorandt
Mar 17, 2017 Marilyn Miravalles
Mar 17, 2017 corinne etancelin
Mar 17, 2017 kayla craft
Mar 17, 2017 sylvia craft
Mar 17, 2017 Pamela Rogers
Mar 17, 2017 geri perry
Mar 17, 2017 Elizabeth Goudge
Mar 17, 2017 Karen Redd
Mar 17, 2017 Robin Abbott
Mar 16, 2017 Linda McKeever
Mar 14, 2017 Holli DuShane
Mar 14, 2017 beatrice longour
Mar 13, 2017 Peter Blackaller
Mar 13, 2017 Baylee Markwell
Mar 11, 2017 Jean-Pierre Lienard Nature is One, we have to protect all that beauty
Mar 10, 2017 Corey Williams
Mar 10, 2017 Heather Cohen
Mar 10, 2017 Valerie Bear
Mar 10, 2017 Alan Cunningham Stop this practice now.
Mar 10, 2017 Molly Coggshall
Mar 10, 2017 Mary CLAUSING
Mar 9, 2017 Alicia .L. Denofrio
Mar 8, 2017 dIANA aYLWARD
Mar 8, 2017 Kate Williams
Mar 8, 2017 kath beach
Mar 7, 2017 Christina Klein
Mar 7, 2017 Evangelia Avrampou
Mar 7, 2017 Maria-Rita Christoph
Mar 7, 2017 Laura W
Mar 6, 2017 Shirley Robinson
Mar 6, 2017 Suzanne Kerr
Mar 6, 2017 virginie devigne
Mar 6, 2017 Susan Brummett 100 million sharks murdered for soup? Meanwhile the sharks are tossed back into the oceans to drown.
Mar 6, 2017 Angela Cancilla Herschel
Mar 6, 2017 Robyn Little
Mar 6, 2017 Fred Coppotelli
Mar 6, 2017 Sarah Stansill
Mar 5, 2017 Kathy Mason
Mar 5, 2017 Sigfrido Losada Torreiro
Mar 4, 2017 Brenda Weber
Mar 3, 2017 Sue Hickford

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