Paris conservation meeting protects sharks
Paris: Fishing nations at an Atlantic conservation conference in Paris took measure to protect sea turtles and several types of sharks, environmental groups said.
Conservation groups Oceana and the Pew Environment Group said representatives of 48 countries at the international meeting have banned fishermen from catching and retaining oceanic whitetip sharks in the Atlantic. Delegates also moved to protect several types of hammerhead sharks and will also require countries to keep data on catches of shortfin mako sharks.
Oceana said fishermen throughout the Atlantic will also now be required to carry special gear to remove hooks from sea turtles.
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, or ICCAT, sets regulations on fishing of tuna and other species that have traditionally been accidental catches for tuna fishermen in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Later Saturday, the commission is expected to make a decision on fishing quotas for the Atlantic bluefin tuna, which environmental groups say is threatened.
Experts say the rise of Asia`s middle class, combined with the continent`s penchant for pricey shark fin soup, a traditional delicacy, has turned sharks into a lucrative target.
While ICCAT and other regional commissions regulate fishing, trade bans are handled by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES.
Environmentalists were sorely disappointed by a CITES meeting in March, where six species of sharks failed to get protection despite studies showing their numbers had fallen by up to 85 percent because of the booming fin trade.
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