International Meeting to Conserve the World’s Sharks Taking Place in Costa Rica

Bonn, 25 January 2016 – The second meeting of the signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks is taking place in San José from 15 to 19 February at the kind invitation of the Costa Rican Government.  It will be preceded by the first meeting of the Memorandum’s Advisory Committee under the chairmanship of John Carlson of the USA. The MOU is a non-legally binding instrument and was negotiated under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

Sharks have inhabited the world’s oceans 150 million years before the days of the dinosaurs. As apex predators they play an important role in marine ecosystems, but their numbers have been severely depleted in recent years, partly to meet demand for their fins used in soup considered a delicacy in parts of Asia.

On the agenda of the inter-governmental meeting will be proposals to add a further 22 shark and ray species to Annex I of the MOU, most of which were added to Appendix II of CMS at the Conference of Parties in Quito in 2014.  They include five species of sawfish, the Reef Manta Ray, the Giant Manta Ray, nine species of mobular rays, the Silky Shark, the Great and Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks and three species of thresher shark.  The species listed on Annex I of the MOU are covered by the provisions of the Conservation Plan contained in Annex III.  Delegates will discuss strategies for greater collaboration with Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and identify species-specific priority conservation measures to implement the Conservation Plan and the Programme of Work to ensure the survival of shark and ray populations.

Administrative issues to be decided include relations with cooperating partners, national reporting under the MOU, the budget and the rules of procedure under which meetings are conducted.

The MOU was concluded at the third negotiation meeting which was held at Manila, the Philippines in February 2010; two previous meetings had been held in the Seychelles (2007) and Rome (2008).  The MOU currently has 39 signatories, including the EU.  The most recent country to sign was New Zealand in July 2015.

Dedicated pages for the Advisory Committee and the Second Meeting of the Signatories have been set up on the CMS website.  Developments can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

Last updated on 10 February 2016