Latin American / Caribbean Workshop on CITES Shark Listings
More than 70 participants representing 28 Latin American and Caribbean countries gathered in Recife, Brazil, from 2 to 4 December, 2013, to participate in a workshop focused on the implementation of new measures for international trade of five shark species, adopted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The new listings will come into effect in September 2014. To assist Latin American and Caribbean countries with implementing the new international trade requirements for these shark species, the government of Brazil, with support from the United States, the CITES Secretariat, and several partner organizations, hosted the “Regional Workshop on Sharks Listed in Appendix II of CITES – Preparing for Implementation.” The regional workshop brought together CITES Management and Scientific authorities and experts from around the world to discuss tools and strategies available to assist countries with implementing the new international shark trade requirements. A range of legal, administrative and scientific topics were covered at the workshop, based on specific needs previously identified by countries.
The workshop provided information on and demonstrated the use of tools and techniques to advance identification of shark species, improve data collection and reporting on shark catches in the region, and enhance the tracking of shark specimens in trade. Participants were provided with real-life examples of how CITES is implemented for several currently listed species and demonstrated how a chain of custody can be established to monitor shark products from the point of harvest to the point of export. The workshop increased awareness of international measures related to shark conservation and management. Scientific surveys on the status of sharks species, domestic legislation, harmonization of Customs codes for trade in sharks and technology transfer for DNA testing, were among the priorities discussed and expected to help guide future activities leading up to the September 2014 effective date.
Sustainable shark trade is a global challenge that can only be addressed through strong international collaboration. At the end of the workshop, participants identified opportunities for exchanging information, next steps associated with implementing the new shark listings, and discussed tools and ideas for moving forward.