Sir Richard Branson Calls on World Leaders to Protect Sharks as the Countdown Begins for Critical Vote at CITES

2022-11-15 10:32 by Sharkwater Foundation–  2m read

Over 180 Delegates are meeting at CITES CoP19 with a rare opportunity to protect highly endangered and threatened sharks globally. In advance of this week’s meetings in Panama, Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson delivered an urgent appeal to world leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to vote in favor of the critical shark proposals.

“We are raising our voices for the oceans and we are raising our voices for the sharks – and now it is time for our leaders to listen,” urged Richard Branson. Over the weekend, Branson’s video was viewed by thousands. His urgent call to action helped bring in last-minute signatures to an online petition with support from now over 130,000 concerned citizens.

Dear Esteemed Delegates,

This week, representatives from over 180 nations have gathered in Panama and will vote on one of the most significant proposals in the history of CITES shark conservation. Putting a stop to the precipitous collapse of global shark populations is at stake, and you have the power to help restore their abundance. If sharks are removed from the ocean, it would not only be devastating to the health of our oceans, but also to the health of our planet - and scientists have warned that the consequences on human food security, local economies, and even climate change will be far reaching and severe.

More than 120,000 concerned citizens have raised their voices for the ocean and called on you to vote in support of this year’s shark proposals. Now, it is time for you, our leaders, to listen and take action.

With gratitude,

Richard Branson

Three CITES proposals prohibit the trade of requiem, guitarfish, and hammerhead families of sharks and rays – an important and necessary move to avoid population extinctions. Requiem sharks make up most of the shark fin and meat trade. As one of the least regulated families, this family of sharks also are the most threatened with 68% of requiem sharks already listed as Endangered and Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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