Science News: Save the Sharks

By Lauren Blake ’20

According to the BBC, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) recently granted extra protection to the Thresher shark — sometimes called the “Indiana Jones” shark because of its long whip-like tail — as well to Silky sharks and Devil rays, a species of stingrays. The dwindling populations of these shark species as a result of the shark fin trade prompted the protective action, the BBC reports.

Scientists have estimated that 100 million species of sharks are killed and used in China for fish markets and medicinal purposes. Chinese merchants use shark fins as the primary ingredient in the county’s traditional shark fin soup. The gills of the Devil rays are also used in Chinese medicine.

Even though many sharks are affected, there are only eight species CITIES has granted some protection. At a 2013 meeting in Thailand, CITES added the sharks species of porbeagle, hammerhead, and oceanic whitetip to a list known as Appendix II. This list permits trade of certain species as long as the population of the species are supportable. Thresher sharks have the maximum risk of elimination according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The cause of shark protection is important and needs to be advocated as much as other marine life issues.



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