The Year in Review & the Road Ahead

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We're happy to report that 2013 was another busy and exciting year for Shark Advocates International (SAI)!

Throughout the year, SAI continued to work independently and through various partnerships to advance science-based shark and ray conservation. Our efforts as part of the CITES4Sharks and Shark Alliance coalitions were particularly rewarding. Highlights of 2013 included:

  • Historic limits through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
  • An end to loopholes in the EU finning ban for stronger enforcement and better data
  • Global protection for oceanic whitetip sharks achieved through an Indian Ocean ban
  • New US Atlantic fishing limits for three species of hammerhead sharks.

SAI president, Sonja Fordham, had the great fortune to take part in crucial research on endangered sawfish in both Australia's Northern Territory and Florida in 2013. She welcomed opportunities to present SAI's perspective at key conferences in cities such as Albuquerque, Plymouth, Bangkok, Monterey, and Dakar, as well as through scientific papers, the media, blogs, and numerous advisory panels. From Virginia to New Zealand, SAI engaged a variety of partners to jointly comment on emerging shark and ray policies. The SAI Twitter account was established in February and has since attracted more than 2400 followers.

Of course, 2013 was not without disappointments. The year saw a serious setback for Atlantic state shark finning rules, as well as defeat for several shark conservation proposals at the annual meeting of the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. In addition, US Atlantic smooth dogfish, winter skates, and cownose rays remain under-protected from overfishing, while government plans to rebuild thorny skates and dusky sharks are not succeeding as anticipated. SAI will continue to address these challenges in 2014, and also build on past progress to ensure:

  • Launch and promotion of the new IUCN global strategy for sawfish conservation
  • New EU quotas for several heavily fished, unprotected European shark species
  • Additional international shark and ray fishing limits through regional fisheries bodies
  • Bans on at-sea removal of shark fins in international fisheries
  • Successful implementation of the sharks and rays listed in 2013 under CITES
  • Progress and new listings under the Convention on Migratory Species.

SAI's work to safeguard sharks and rays depends on the generosity of donors. No species or gift is too small! Tax-deductible contributions can be made through this page on the website of our host, The Ocean Foundation.