On Monday, five shark species won international trade protection. This move is seen as a breakthrough in worldwide efforts to protect this predator from extinction due to it being hunted for its fins.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), made up of 178 members, did not completely ban shark trading. Instead, they restricted the cross border trade of the oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, and three different types of hammerhead sharks. This was proposed by Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, and other countries. The deal still has to be formally approved by CITES, but it made conservationists all over happy as the problem with Asia’s appetite for shark fin continues to grow and endanger the species. The reason for delay for formal approval is so that a party has the opportunity to appeal the decision before it is put into effect. The trade of the porbeagle had been previously overturned.

If the deal goes through, it will require countries to regulate their trade by issuing export permits to ensure that the wild is still kept sustainable. If they do not, they would face sanction from the members of CITES, which currently protects 35,000 species. If one wishes to fish for fins of the shark species, they will have to jump through a stringent permit system to export, this being a long waited for victory by conservationists who wish to put an end to the popular shark fin soup in Japan and China.

Every year, more than 100 million sharks are killed for sport.
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