New Delhi, Oct 12: Widespread overfishing is driving many shark species, including the world’s largest living fish, the whale shark, to extinction, warn biologists. Its global status needs to be upgraded for protection and conservation. India is among 121 nations that are home to this species with continuing global population declines. The major threats to it are fisheries catches, bycatch in nets and vessel strikes.
Now, the Philippines, Israel and Sri Lanka have jointly submitted a proposal for the inclusion of the whale shark, found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, in Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) for its conservation.
The proposal has been listed in the agenda for the 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties, to which India is also one of the signatories, to be held in Philippine capital Manila from October 23 to 28. The proposal, accessed by IANS, demands the upgrading of the whale shark to a listing on Appendix I of the CMS as well as maintaining its existing Appendix II listing on account of its endangered conservation status and continuing population decline.
This will help improve protection and encourage global actions to address threats posed even by unsustainable tourism. It will also lead to increased attention to legislative protection in range states and heightened awareness on conservation requirements. (IANS)