Another Reason (If You Needed One) Not to Eat Shark

Shark meat consumption is bad for sharks of course, millions of sharks are killed each year for the shark meat and fin trade, but it’s also bad for people.  I’ve written before about the way heavy metals and organic pollutants like PCBs concentrate in animals high up on the food chain.  Shark meat has been shown to carry levels of toxic metals such as mercury that far exceed what is allowable for human consumption.  A recent article demonstrates that sharks can also carry the dangerous and often … [Read more...]

Some Good News for Sharks!

We hear so much bad news about sharks – populations of many species have declined to historic lows, finning occurs in numerous countries, bycatch continues to threaten shark species, shark fishing tournaments are conducted for sport here in the US.  When a bit of good news about sharks comes along it seems natural to be encouraged that perhaps the situation is turning around.  Yet I hesitated to write up the article that follows – would any bit of good news about shark recovery be used to … [Read more...]

Stumpy Returns

A short post today to tell you about the long residency of an individual whale shark at the Ningaloo Reef feeding aggregation in Western Australia.  These huge animals require an enormous amount of their planktonic food, and so they travel the seas between sites where rich food sources are transiently found.  One of these sites is at Ningaloo Reef off the coast of Western Australia, where whale sharks come each April through July to feed on coral spawn.  Since 1995, whale sharks visiting … [Read more...]

Catching Some Rays in Mexico

For many years it was believed that there was a single species of manta ray distributed globally in the oceans, Manta birostris, the Giant manta ray.  This was despite the fact that there is a significant range of manta size across different locations, and that some mantas appear to be migratory pelagic animals, while others are more coastal and resident.  In 2009, genetic studies showed that the smaller coastal animals were a separate species.  Designated Manta alfredi, the Reef manta ray, this … [Read more...]

A huge victory for sharks at CoP17!

Well, CITES is over....all shark and ray proposals were ratified without challenge. A huge victory for sharks at CoP17! Other proposals we’ve championed - the movement of all pangolin species to Appendix I, blocking all trade in African grey parrots, the failure to reopen ivory markets in Namibia and Zimbabwe - were also ratified. Your SRI representatives (, along with folks from Sea Save (, Aquameridian (, Pretoma … [Read more...]


In a packed conference room yesterday, the CITES membership voted to continue to protect the African elephant and limit future trade in elephant ivory, but voting failed to move all remaining elephant populations to CITES Appendix I. Three proposals were introduced at CoP17 concerning trade in elephant products. Proposals #14 and #15 were introduced by Namibia and Zimbabwe, respectively, asking to exempt their countries from existing CITES restrictions on trade in ivory stockpiles and live … [Read more...]


Live from CITES CoP17, 10-3-16 CITES voted today on proposals to list silky sharks, all three species of thresher sharks and all nine species of mobula rays on Appendix II.  Silky and thresher sharks have shown declines of between 70 and 80% across their ranges, with local declines of more than 90%.  Mobula rays are declining as well, and have become more heavily targeted since manta rays received CITES protection in 2013.  All three species are wide-ranging with a global distribution, and … [Read more...]


This morning saw a highly contentious nearly two hour discussion of CITES Proposal #19, to move African grey parrots from the limited trade protection of Appendix II, to the full trade ban of Appendix I.  Voting under a secret ballot requested by Kuwait (which can be called for by a group of at least 10 countries, and is often requested when countries hope to vote without undue influence from trade partners or neighbors) the uplisting of African grey parrots to CITES Appendix I passed 95 votes … [Read more...]

CITES is a Conservation Organization…not a Trade Organization!

SRI wanted to share this excellent opinion from José Truda Palazzo from the NGO Divers for Sharks, which was intended to remind delegates that the goal of CITES is to protect species by regulating trade, not to protect trade by the manner in which species are regulated.  (It is posted here as written and in its entirety.)   CITES, Species and Livelihoods – Time to Regain Ground for Conservation Which Benefits People & Biodiversity José Truda Palazzo, Jr. [1] The 17th … [Read more...]

CITES….is off for the weekend!

Time to see some real animals at the Lionsrock Lodge & Big Cat Sanctuary (  Back to work on Sunday.   … [Read more...]