Over the past 6 years, Governments, IGOs, NGOs and the Secretariat have worked to develop tools to assist interested Parties to properly implement the listings of sharks and rays on Appendix II of CITES. Below is a collection of background materials, tools and resources that can inform and assist those looking to learn more about sharks and rays in CITES or implement both the currently listed and proposed listings at home.
For more information on the shark and ray species currently listed on the CITES appendices, please click here.
Visual identification guides for wedgefish and giant guitarfish
The proposed CoP18 listings for wedgefish and giant guitarfish can be identified in in trade in their most commonly traded form, dried and unprocessed fins. Gulf Elasmo Project has created a visual identification guide for these species so should the proposals pass at CoP18, CITES Parties will be able to effectively enforce these listings.
Visual Identification guide for mako sharks
Shortfin mako sharks have been proposed to be listed on CITES Appendix II at CoP18 in May 2019, with longfin mako sharks listed as a look-alike species. These species, like previously listed shark species, have distinctive fins that can be readily identified in trade. This guide provides the steps needed to distinguish both shortfin and longfin mako sharks from other species in the international shark fin trade.
New research on shark-like rays in trade
Two recent studies of Hong Kong, SAR and mainland China markets have revealed that guitarfishes, or shark-like rays, are more prevalent in the international trade than previously thought. Suspected by Clarke (2003) but not confirmed until recent studies were able to conduct genetic analyses, guitarfish have been found to have their own retail category, ‘Qun Chi’ with some processed fins sold for as much as $1659 USD per kilogram.
The study conducted by BLOOM Hong Kong found that in surveyed markets of Hong Kong, SAR and mainland China, more than one tenth of dried seafood shops (12.9% and 15.5% respectively) were selling Qun chi, both processed and unprocessed.
Given the global lack of management for shark-like rays, their noted significant declines in populations and newfound significance in the international fin trade, this study sheds additional light on the need to list both giant guitarfish and wedgefish Families on Appendix II of CITES.