IFAW Highlights Threats to Sharks in Yemen

Press Release

International Fund for Animal Welfare ( IFAW )

January 22, 2013

Dubai, UAE

Concerned about the conservation of sharks in the Republic of Yemen, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org) is organizing a national workshop in collaboration with the Yemen Environment Protection Authority.

It is estimated 70 million sharks worldwide are caught every year. Sharks are exploited mainly for their highly valued parts such as fins, teeth and jaws. The demand for shark fin soup drives the cruel practice of “finning” in which a shark’s fins are cut off and the animal is thrown back into the water, often alive.

Fifty delegates from Republic of Yemen will gather for the Shark Conservation in Workshop in Al Mukalla City, Yemen, January 19-21, 2013. Delegates are from government and non-government organization authorities which work on regulate and conserve fishery will attend the workshop along with representatives from fishers unions and organizations.

The workshop aims to find ways on how to conserve sharks in Yemen as well as protect sharks from commercial exploitation and overfishing.  The workshop also comes within the framework of the preparations for the 16th meeting of the conference of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Dr. Elsayed Mohamed, IFAW’s Middle East Regional Director said: “IFAW aims to draw attention to the threats sharks face and call for shark conservation by bringing together national experts from governmental, scientific and commercial communities to focus on what can be done to save sharks in Yemen.”

“The objectives of the workshop are to raise the awareness among officials about shark conservation status in Yemen, identify threats to sharks and suggest recommendations for law enforcement.” Dr. Elsayed Mohamed added.

The  50 experts represent Yemeni officials from the General Environment Protection Authority, Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Science & Biological Research Authority, Chamber of Commerce, Cost Guards, Fisheries Associations, Local Governmental Council and fisheries companies.

Expert from IFAW will join the workshop to share best practices about shark conservation and to discuss how international agreements such as CITES can provide the best solutions to save sharks in Yemeni waters.

Dr. Mohamed added: “CITES as a global agreement aimed at regulating, not stopping, the shark fishing industry or affecting domestic fisheries. CITES works to ensure that the international trade in sharks does not threaten their survival.”

Throughout the three-day workshop, national experts will review shark species, biology, fishing, national management and legislation in Yemen and define the impact of the government and fishermen on shark conservation. In addition, officials and fishermen will discuss how they can work together to manage and protect shark populations and suggest shark fishery management plans.

Sharks have limited biological productivity and are facing many threats around the world such as overfishing and by-catch. If sharks populations continue to decline, the conservation of the marine ecosystem would be under serious threat.

IFAW promotes responsible shark watching and considers it not only the most sustainable but also economically beneficial. It can generate a significant of revenue for local communities (e.g., the value of reef sharks as an ecotourism asset can be as much as US$200,000/year).

Source: IFAW



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