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Press Releases :: EU welcomes progress on the global conservation of migratory sharks

EU welcomes progress on the global conservation of migratory sharks

(22/02/2016) Predators themselves, many sharks today are under threat. At the second Meeting of the Signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks (Sharks MoU), held from 15-19 February in San José, Costa Rica, the Signatories agreed to include 22 additional shark and ray species under the MoU, reflecting the need to strengthen measures to improve or restore a favourable conservation status of these sharks.

The meeting also agreed on an ambitious work plan for the three years to come, the establishment of a working group on conservation, and on several procedural matters.

Signatories agreed to include five sawfish species, two species of manta rays, nine mobula ray species, silky sharks, two species of hammerhead sharks, and three thresher shark species in Annex 1 of the Sharks MoU, thus bringing the number of listed species from seven to 29  – a four-fold increase. This will strengthen cooperation amongst the Signatories to improve or restore the conservation status of these species.  The listing is complemented by the adoption of an ambitious work programme covering research and outreach activities, to provide the basis for future decisions and to encourage new states to become Signatories to the MoU. The Conservation Working Group established at the meeting will strengthen the science work under the MoU Sharks.  

In more practical terms, the Signatories also succeeded in adopting the budget of the Sharks MoU for the next three years. They also adopted Rules of Procedure, although some issues related to voting remain to be clarified at a later date. Portugal became the 40th Signatory to the Sharks MoU, and seven new Cooperating Partners were accepted by the Signatories.

The Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks is the first intergovernmental treaty dealing specifically with shark conservation at a global level. It entered into force in March 2010. The European Union became a Signatory in 2011.