Victory claims for 22 marine species

A local environmental organization said Tuesday that threatened sharks and rays had won a victory because 22 marine species have been included in an agreement.

The agreement is the Memorandum of Understanding of Migratory Sharks. Representatives of the countries that signed the document held their second meeting Tuesday in San José and voted unanimously to include the 22 species under Annex 1 of the agreement, said the organization.

“Now, countries will have to coordinate work in a regional context to stop the negative trend these populations are exhibiting, mainly due to overfishing,” said the organization, the Programa Restauracion de Tortugas Marinas. “In the eastern tropical Pacific, overfishing and the lack of efficient controls by regional fisheries management organizations have been identified as the main threats for the survival of these species.”

The organization said that three shark groups of the 22 species were relevance to Costa Rica, two species of hammerheads, three species of threshers and the silky shark. These species are listed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and are commonly caught by Costa Ricans to commercialize their fins and meat in international and domestic markets, the organization added.

“Better times are coming for sharks” said Randall Arauz, of Programa Restauracion de Tortugas Marinas. “The signatories acknowledged by consensus that these species are in urgent need of conservation actions, its time to act now,” urged Arauz.

The organization known as PRETOMA has been at the front of a lengthy battle to protect sharks and other marine species.

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