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Conservation body votes to regulate shark trade

Demand for shark fins, such as these displayed in a Bangkok restaurant, has reduced the species.

Associated Press

Demand for shark fins, such as these displayed in a Bangkok restaurant, has reduced the species.

BANGKOK — Conservationists at a global wildlife conference on Monday voted to regulate the trade of shark species that have been threatened because their fins are used to make expensive delicacies in Asia.

Delegates at the triennial meeting in Bangkok of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna adopted the proposals to put the oceanic whitetip, hammerhead, and porbeagle sharks on a list of species whose trade is closely controlled.

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More than two dozen species of shark are officially endangered, and more than 100 others considered either vulnerable or near threatened. Like manta rays, sharks are seen as valuable to nations with dive tourism industries, with island territories such as the Bahamas, Fiji, and the Maldives deriving major benefits.

Eleven nations, including Brazil, the United States, and Egypt, proposed regulating trade in the species. Japan and China were among the proposals’ opponents.

Sonja Fordham, the founder of US-based Shark Advocates International, said in a statement she was pleased with the votes. ‘‘These highly traded, threatened shark species urgently need protection from the unsustainable trade that jeopardizes populations, ecosystems, livelihoods, and ecotourism.’’

Threats against oceanic whitetip and hammerhead sharks are driven by demand for their fins, while porbeagle sharks are targeted primarily for their meat in Europe.

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