Thank Environmental Summit for Protecting Sharks

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Target: Delegates to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

Goal: Thank delegates for protecting five shark species from being traded in international markets

Every year, about 100 million sharks are killed throughout the world, a level scientists find unsustainable. About two million hammerhead sharks alone are killed yearly for their valuable fins. Shark fin soup is a delicacy in Asian countries like China, where it is traditionally served at weddings and special occasions. Thankfully, a recent summit of nearly 200 countries voted to restrict international trade in certain shark species, including three types of hammerheads.

Sharks are particularly vulnerable to population loss due to their slow reproduction rate. The whitetip shark, one species protected by the recent summit, has seen a species loss of over 90% in the last 20 years. The porbeagle, another protected species, has endured a similar loss, at 85% over the same time-period.

Fishermen obtain shark fins while pretending to seek other types of non-endangered fish. Once they catch the sharks, they remove the fins while still at sea, then throw the animals back into the ocean to die by the hundreds. Killing such a large number of sharks has upset the delicate balance of ecosystems in which they usually thrive, leading to the loss of other desirable marine species.

China and Japan have traditionally opposed shark protection efforts in the past. Hong Kong buys about fifty percent of the world’s shark fins. This time, however, the EU provided a cash incentive to pass the measure. Thank delegates to the CITES Summit for passing this measure, which protects endangered sharks from international trade.

PETITION LETTER

Dear CITES Delegates,

Thank you for passing the recent measure protecting five shark species from being sold in international markets. The overfishing of sharks has upset marine ecosystems throughout the world, and the staggering loss of particular species of hammerheads and whitetips cannot continue. These animals reproduce slowly in small litters, so it is essential to protect them before shark species loss reaches a point of no return. Hopefully this measure will prevent the poaching of endangered sharks by opportunistic fishermen.

I hope that this measure remains in place for years to come so that the world’s endangered sharks may live and proliferate in peace. Large predators are essential to the health of entire ecosystems, and I thank you for your decision to protect them.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: su neko via Wikimedia

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