Constituent Mail Bag

Statement

By:  Bob Filner
Date: Oct. 1, 2012
Location: Unknown

From Chula Vista:

The global demand for shark fins, meat, liver oil, and other products has driven numerous shark populations to the brink of extinction. Their life history characteristics, such as slow growth, late maturation, and production of few offspring, make sharks particularly vulnerable to overfishing and slow to recover from decline.

In particular, global populations of oceanic whitetip sharks have fallen significantly. They are listed as Critically Endangered in the Northwest and Central Atlantic Ocean, and Vulnerable globally, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. In the Gulf of Mexico, scientists estimate that oceanic whitetip populations have dropped by 99 percent in just over four decades.

Although a few countries and regional fisheries management organizations have started to take steps to address the worldwide oceanic whitetip decline, these measures do not have the global reach that a listing under the Convention on International Trade in

Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) would have in helping this vulnerable species. The next opportunity to protect additional species under CITES will be in March 2013 in Bangkok.

I am writing to urge you to ensure that the United States submits a proposal to list oceanic whitetip sharks on Appendix II of CITES and to do so far enough in advance of the Oct. 4 deadline to allow other governments to co-sponsor it.

Congressman Filner replies:

Thank you for contacting me in support of protecting sharks.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that we must do more to protect these majestic creatures! Each year, human activity kills more than 100 million sharks worldwide, many of them killed only for their fins. Rest assured, you can count on me to continue working with my colleagues to preserve and protect our oceans' sharks.

I appreciate your advocacy and share your concern on this important issue!