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‘Seismic Shift’ In Shark Conservation Following New CITES Protection

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'Seismic Shift' In Shark Conservation Following New CITES Protection

A cause for celebration among Humane Society International’s marine experts as parties voted to give greater protection to thresher sharks, silky sharks and devil rays by listing them all in Appendix II, at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

 

Rebecca Regnery, deputy director of wildlife, Humane Society International issued the following statement:

“Today’s vote to give CITES protections to thresher and silky sharks, reflects a seismic shift in the way the world views and conserves sharks. It indicates that countries recognise the conservation crisis of largely unmonitored international commercial trade in shark products such as fins and meat, leaving many shark species struggling to survive. We are delighted that CITES Parties have acknowledged the urgent need to correct this oversight in order to maintain healthy shark populations, and now we urge them to finalise the adoption of this measure by giving it the green light at the end of this meeting later this week.”

 

We are delighted that CITES Parties have acknowledged the urgent need to correct this oversight in order to maintain healthy shark populations.

 

Devil rays are beautiful, defenceless marine animals that have come under increasing serious threat due to demand from Asia for their food-filtering gill plates which are used in ‘medical’ products. Today member countries of CITES have given us hope that they will take the necessary actions to protect angelic devil rays from possible extinction. With this species in serious decline, this decision comes just in time, so we urge countries to approve this measure at the end of the meeting later this week.”

Thresher sharks are one of the most gracefully beautiful types of shark with their long, flowing tail. This has made them a favourite for divers in some countries such as the Philippines. Unfortunately they are also targeted in large number for their meat, fins and other products which are traded commercially. Proper regulation of both fisheries and trade in thresher sharks is an absolute necessity for these species to continue to thrive.

What was the proposal?

This proposal was to include in CITES Appendix II the bigeye thresher shark (Alopias superciliosus), as well as the two other “look-alike” species of the genus Alopias (commonand pelagic threshers) led by Sri Lanka with the following co-proponents: the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Comoros, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, the European Union, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Maldives, Mauritania, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles and Ukraine.

Thresher shark fast facts:

  • Thresher sharks are one of the most threatened of all pelagic shark species.
  • The bigeye thresher sharks has the lowest annual rate of population increase of all thresher sharks and is therefore especially at risk of depletion by fisheries.
  • Despite bans on catches by regional tuna fisheries agreements in the Atlantic (ICCAT), and Indian (IOTC) oceans, catches reported to the UN FAO have continued to rise in some oceans and have only fallen slightly in others.
  • Thresher sharks are listed on Appendix II of the UN Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and Annex I of the CMS Sharks MoU due to the need for collaboration on international conservation measures of this species.
  • Listing on CITES Appendix II would complement these and other fisheries management measures and help curb over-fishing and illegal fishing and trade in this species.
  • Trade in sharks that were caught illegally falls under the category of wildlife trafficking.

The silky shark is caught in large numbers in commercial fisheries around the world either on purpose or accidentally when fishing for other species. These catches are traded internationally in unsustainable numbers for their meat, fins and other products. The demand for these products has led to low incentives for adopting fisheries management measures to regulate their catches and to use methods to avoid catching them and resulted in a catch level that must be reduced now in order to prevent further declines in the populations of this vulnerable species.

What was the proposal?

Proposal to include the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) in CITES Appendix II led by the Maldives with the following co-proponents: the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Comoros, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, the European Union, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Ukraine.

Fast facts about the silky shark:

  • Increasing number of silky shark fins are found in the international fin trade despite catches being prohibited by regional fisheries management organizations in both the Atlantic (ICCAT) and the western Pacific (WCPFC) oceans.
  • The silky shark is one of the main species that is caught incidentally in tuna fisheries and this especially affects juvenile silky sharks.
  • The silky shark is listed on Appendix II of the UN Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and
  • Annex I of the CMS Sharks MoU due to the need for collaboration on international conservation measures of this species.
  • Listing on CITES Appendix II would complement these and other fisheries management measures and help curb over-fishing and illegal fishing and trade in this species.
  • Trade in sharks that were caught illegally falls under the category of wildlife trafficking.

Mobula (devil) rays

Devil rays are beautiful, defenceless animals that have come under serious threat due to the demand for their gill plates, which they use to filter their food, for use as an Asian medical product. In 2013, CITES member countries agreed to regulate the trade in manta ray gill plates which has further increased the demand for products from devil rays. These rays are in serious trouble if fisheries and trading nations do not start to regulate the trade in these products immediately.

What was the proposal?

This proposal is to include in CITES Appendix II the sicklefin devil ray (Mobula tarapacana)

and spinetail devil ray (Mobula japanica), as well as the seven other “look-alike” species of devil rays (the genus Mobula) led by Fiji with the following co-proponents: the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Comoros, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, the European Union, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, the Maldives, Mauritania, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and the USA.

Fast facts about devil rays:

  • M. japonica and M. Tarapacana are the two largest species of devil rays with the most valuable gill plates and the highest market demand.
  • Fisheries for these species have shifted from limited subsistence fishing to unsustainable commercial fishing to supply the international demand for their gill plates.
  • All species are listed on Appendices I and II of the UN Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and
  • Annex I of the CMS Sharks MoU. Full protection and collaboration on international conservation measures are required of member countries of these agreements.
  • It is difficult to distinguish between the dried gill plates in trade of the different species of manta and mobula rays.
  • Trade in rays that were caught illegally falls under the category of wildlife trafficking.

 

 

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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