Despite urgent need, Mediterranean countries, Commission choose delay over protection for disappearing sharks and rays

With 41% of the sharks and rays threatened, the Mediterranean is the most dangerous sea for these species.

Press Release Date: May 23, 2011

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Last week’s meeting of the Barcelona Convention concluded with no decision – only a delay – on the potential protection of ten species of threatened and endangered sharks and rays in the Mediterranean Sea. Oceana is extremely disappointed by this outcome, given the threatened status of these species in the Mediterranean, and the fact that the primary threat responsible – overfishing – continues. The Mediterranean is the region of greatest risk globally to sharks and rays, with 41% of species considered threatened, compared to 17% globally.

The evidence is very clear: the sharks and rays in question have decreased markedly in number, some by as much as 99% during the last century, they have disappeared from areas where they were once common, and they remain at risk, due to overfishing and habitat destruction,” said Ricardo Aguilar, Research Director for Oceana in Europe. The possibility of increasing protection of these species was first raised in 2009 – any further delay is unnecessary and inexcusable. Oceana urges Mediterranean nations and the European Commission to finally assume their responsibility for the state of these species at their next meeting, and make the necessary decisions for their protection.

Citing the need for further consultation, the European Commission and Mediterranean nations opted to postpone discussion about the inclusion of these species under Annex II of the Barcelona Convention, until a meeting in September of this year. Inclusion under this annex would represent a critical measure for safeguarding these sharks and rays in the region, because it would require countries to undertake maximum efforts for protection and recovery.

For more information, see Mediterranean countries must adopt urgent protection for disappearing sharks and rays