Germany proposes porbeagle and spurdog sharks for protection under the convention on international trade in endangered species

Oceana supports the listing of the two endangered shark species under this international convention

Press Release Date: May 13, 2010

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Germany will present proposals for the listing of spurdog and porbeagle sharks on Annex II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This treaty provides international protection for threatened species. 


The spurdog (or spiny dogfish, Squalus acanthias) is a small coastal shark that has been fished to the brink of collapse, highly valued in Europe for its meat. The highly migratory, oceanic porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus), a relative of makos and the great white, is equally imperilled and targeted for its meat and fins. The biomass of spurdog has decreased over 95 percent in the Northeast Atlantic for example, and the Northwest Atlantic porbeagle stock has declined over eighty percent.


Ricardo Aguilar, Director of Investigation for Oceana Europe explains: “Fisheries management has obviously failed for these two species – as for many other fish. Even though scientists recommend a zero catch, politicians still haven’t agreed to stop fishing and hence these sharks now have to be protected with trade controls and other biodiversity conservation instruments.” 


CITES provides a worldwide legal framework for regulating and controlling trade in species at risk of extinction. In an attempt to protect spurdog and porbeagle sharks, Germany is proposing both species for listing under this convention, which will have to be agreed by the European Commission before going forward to the CITES Conference of the Parties in 2010.


These species will be proposed for Appendix II, which includes those species that may become threatened with extinction if their trade is not strictly regulated. Appendix II listings serve to limit trade to sustainable levels through requirements of export permits, only authorized if the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species. Both of these species enter international trade in substantial volumes and are therefore highly relevant for CITES protection. Oceana advocates CITES listing on Annex I for all internationally traded endangered and critically endangered marine species and a listing in Annex II for all other vulnerable marine species.


Oceana congratulates Germany for their initiative in protecting threatened sharks and will support the CITES listing internationally. Spurdog and porbeagle were proposed for CITES listing in 2007, but the proposals did not achieve the required majority.