Conservation efforts for sharks took a strong turn for the better this October, thanks to the United Nations-backed Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild (CMS).
Convening in Manila, the Convention secured a pact signed by 126 countries, that’s designed to provide cross-protections to migratory animals – both on land and at sea.
Let’s look a bit closer at the results of the convention, and the organisation behind it.
What is the CMS?
The CMS was formed under the United Nations Environment Programme.
Its purpose is to function as a global platform, promoting the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals – that is, animals which pass through multiple territories as a result of their migratory habits.
As a part of their function, this body also looks to protect the habitats that migratory animals inhabit.
The CMS undertakes its functions with the help of two primary documents:
- Appendix I of the Convention lists species that are threatened with extinction, with the stated goal of strict protection for these animals
- Appendix II lists species that would significantly benefit from international co-operation on conservation
Each state that joins the Convention must agree to certain conservation obligations with regards to Appendix I.
Alongside these obligations, the CMS provides a framework under which agreements can be made between states. The Convention encourages these states to undertake global or regional agreements for the betterment of migratory species – these can take the form of both legally binding treaties (called Agreements), or more loosely formal Memoranda of Understanding.
So, how does this latest Convention affect sharks?
Putting sharks first
The essence of the latest conference as it concerns sharks is related to the Appendices that we mentioned above.
Several shark species (including whale sharks, the largest shark fish species in the world) were moved to Appendix I, while others were included in Appendix II.
In essence, this means that these sharks – three species in all – are now protected across the boundaries of all member nations waters.
The importance of this for shark conservation cannot be understated: a study estimated that as many as 100 million sharks are killed by humans every year, a truly staggering number.
The agreement that has come out of the CMS hopes to drastically reduce this number.
If you’re not sure what all the fuss is about, you owe it to yourself to experience these incredible creatures first-hand.
A shark cage diving trip allows you to see Great What Sharks face-to-face – a useful, not to mention exhilarating, experience in context.