After six days of intense negotiations, the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP11) marked a new era in international elasmobranch conservation.
‘The conference in Quito has generated an unprecedented level of attention for migratory sharks and rays,’ commented Bradnee Chambers, the Convention’s executive secretary. ‘Never before in the 35-year history of CMS has the international community agreed to list as many species of elasmobranchs in the Appendices of the Convention. This highlights the growing commitment of the 120 member states to conserve these species.’
A record number of 21 proposals to list shark and ray species was approved (see table on page 115), as was Resolution 11.20 on the Conservation of Migratory Shark and Rays, which addresses the most pressing threats to these fishes and provides guidance for Parties on the priority actions that need to be taken in the coming years. In some circles, COP11 has been labelled the Shark COP, raising expectations for the future performance of the Convention to improve the conservation status of these species.