Ocean News

Save Our Seas Foundation adds their voice to improved migratory shark protections

By Nick Voutour, 5th March 2020

SOSF is proud to announce that we are now a cooperating partner for International the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks.

Photo © Sarah Fowler

Last month, Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) attended the thirteenth meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP13) in Gandhinagar, India.

CMS is a global, environmental treaty of the United Nations that brings together range countries of migratory species. It was created with animals like sharks in mind — animals which naturally travel across the political borders and territories of our world throughout their life cycles. In doing so, these animals face a variety of human-caused challenges along the way that cannot be effectively addressed through the independent actions of one country alone. This makes international agreements around the conservation and sustainable use of sharks an important issue for CMS.

Image via Convention of Migratory Species CoP13

While representing SOSF at the event, Scientific Advisor Sarah Fowler signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks (Sharks MOU) on behalf of the organization. In doing so, SOSF has officially become a Cooperating Partner of the first global instrument for the conservation of migratory species of sharks.

SOSF Principal Scientific Advisor at the signing ceremony. Photo © IISD Reporting Services | ENB

Celebrations as Sarah signs the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks (Sharks MOU) on our behalf. Photo © IISD Reporting Services | ENB

At a time when an estimated one-quarter of shark and ray species are threatened worldwide, SOSF looks forward to working in a larger capacity with Sharks MOU. Around the world, these charismatic marine top predators are under serious threat, with tens of millions killed every year. Working with organizations like CMS and helping foster international conservation agreements is of great importance to the Foundation as this work is helping to reshape the future for declining shark species.

Photo © IISD Reporting Services | ENB

SOSF is already actively engaging in efforts to manage migratory species, especially sharks. As a Cooperating Partner, the Foundation will have an increased opportunity to further support the Signatories, Range States, and the Secretariat in meeting the implementation objectives of the Conservation Plan for sharks. To date, the organization has contributed greatly to multiple objectives included in this plan. The full list of activities includes:

  • Improving understanding of migratory shark populations through research, monitoring and information exchange.
  • Ensuring that directed and non-directed fisheries for sharks are sustainable.
  • Ensuring to the extent practicable the protection of critical habitats and migratory corridors and critical life stages of sharks
  • Enhancing national, regional and international cooperation
  • Increasing public awareness of threats to sharks and their habitats, and enhancing public participation in conservation activities.

SOSF has a great deal of experience in these areas. The organization has been funding and supporting more than 300 shark research, conservation, and education projects worldwide in over 50 countries since its inception over 15 years ago. With a primary focus on shark and ray species, it has also supported the development of various reports used to inform international shark conservation policy.

The oceanic white-tip shark was listed at this year's event. Image © UN CMS CoP13

In addition to joining Sharks MOU as a Cooperating Partner, more good news came out of COP13  —  three new shark species were added to CMS Appendices! The oceanic whitetip shark was added to Appendix I and the smooth hammerhead and tope sharks were added to Appendix II. To learn more about CMS and its efforts to conserve shark species, click here.

The smooth hammerhead shark was listed at this year's event. Image © UN CMS CoP13