Bonn, 17 March 2011 – Australia has signed the CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks raising the number of signatories to 14. On behalf of the Australian Government, a senior officer from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities signed in the margins of the 3rd meeting of the CMS Future Shape Working Group at the UN Premises in Bonn.
The Memorandum, the first of its kind regarding sharks, was concluded in February 2010. It covers currently seven shark species listed on the CMS Appendices: Basking Shark, Great White Shark, Whale Shark, Shortfin and Longfin Mako Shark, Porbeagle and Northern hemisphere populations of the Spiny Dogfish. Six out of these seven species occur in Australian waters - the White Shark, Whale Shark, Basking Shark, Porbeagle, Shortfin Mako and Longfin Mako.
The conservation and sustainable use of migratory marine species continues to be a priority during the International Decade for Biodiversity 2011 – 2020. By signing the Memorandum, Australia maintains its active participation in relevant international fora such as the Convention on Migratory Species.
CMS Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema said: “Considering the rapid decline of shark populations worldwide, I would like to invite other range states to join hands with us towards implementing this important Memorandum”.
Sharks belong to the commercially most exploited species. The goal of the CMS agreement is the restoration and long term viability of populations of migratory sharks covered by the instrument. A Conservation Plan is currently being developed under the leadership of the United States, with a view to being submitted for adoption to the 1st Meeting to the Signatory States in 2012.
Fact Sheet released by the Australian Government