Whale sharks and three other shark species have been included in a list of 34 endangered animals voted to receive additional protection at the UN-backed Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) conference.
The 12th CMS, held in Manila in the Philippines, finished on 28 October after six days of discussions aimed at improving international protection efforts. Particular attention was drawn to efforts needed to protect species that migrate across borders.
More than 1000 delegates from 129 countries took part in the conference, with notable absentees including major shark-product consumer China.
“We’re trying to work to bring China on board as a member of the convention,” CMS Executive Secretary Dr Bradnee Chambers told press. “We have been engaging them and they are actually doing quite a bit.”
He said that positive engagement was needed “to see how to find solutions instead of just bashing the country and looking at the negative side”.
It was the Philippines that lobbied for the inclusion of whale sharks, a tourist attraction at sites such as Oslob in Cebu.
Angel, dusky and blue sharks along with three species of ray were also included on the list. Most of the other species cited were land animals.
The CMS, which also passed resolutions to find ways to reduce the impact of marine debris, noise pollution and climate change on migratory species, makes no provision for sanctions to be applied to offending nations.