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December 24, 2013


On December 2-4, 2013, in the city of Recife, Brazil, the Species Survival Network, in collaboration with the governments of Brazil and the United States, the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Secretariat, Defenders of Wildlife, Teyeliz, Humane Society International and the Organization of American States (OAS) Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative (WHMSI) held the first “Regional Workshop on Sharks Listed in Appendix II of CITES – Preparing for Implementation” for Latin American and Caribbean governmental authorities. More than 70 representatives from 28 countries participated in person at the workshop.

The workshop’s aim was to assist CITES authorities and fisheries agencies in facilitating implementation of and compliance with the recently adopted shark listings in Appendix II of CITES (three hammerhead species, oceanic whitetip and porbeagle sharks). These listings will come into effect on September 14, 2014, and will require agencies of signatory governments to issue export permits for these species.

The workshop was structured around informational training presentations and hands-on activities, including: improving the accuracy of shark catch data to comply with Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMO) recommendations; learning to correctly identify shark species and their fins; and developing a chain of custody to facilitate making legal acquisition findings for exports of sharks listed in CITES Appendices. The hands-on part of the workshop included two half-day sessions. During the first session, the participants were rotated through four groups to learn different methods of identifying shark species and fin identification using Defenders’ shark identification guides, shark fin identification guides, DNA testing, and an FAO software program for fin identification that is under development. During the second session, the participants were divided into regional groups (South Atlantic, South Pacific, Caribbean, and Central America) to discuss and evaluate regional capabilities and needs for implementing CITES shark listings.

The workshop was also a platform for increasing awareness of international and regional regulations related to shark conservation and management and for facilitating communications between the CITES and fisheries authorities. The participants were provided with a contact list and a Gmail group account to continue the active communication following the event.

For those that could not attend in person, a webinar was provided to stream all the presentations in real time (http://m.ustream.tv/channel/shark-brazil-workshop). Around 80 participants connected to the link. We also recorded the workshop and will make this available soon. In addition, we developed a website where the presentations and materials will be made publicly available (http://www.oas.org/en/sedi/dsd/biodiversity/WHMSI/SharkEvent%20.asp). We collated and distributed workshop materials at the conclusion of the workshop, including USBs containing all the presentations as well as regional shark identification guides.

For further information about the workshop, please contact the Co-chairs of the SSN Shark Working Group: Alejandra Goyenchea (agoyenechea@defenders.org) or Rebecca Regnery (rregnery@hsi.org).


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