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Report lists the world’s top 20 shark and ray catchers
Some 600,000 metric tonnes of sharks and rays were caught each year between 2007 and 2017. 


Scientists call for urgent action to combat over-exploitation

A list of the world’s top 20 shark and ray catchers, who collectively account for around 80 per cent of the average global catch, have been revealed in a new report.


Compiled by the wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, the report shows that some 600,000 metric tonnes of sharks and rays were caught each year between 2007 and 2017. 


Topping the list of catchers during this period were Indonesia, Spain, India, Mexico and the United States, with a combined total of 333,952 metric tonnes (mt) caught on average each year.  


Shark fin consumption in East Asia is also a key driver of trade. An average of 16,177 mt per year of shark fin products (with an average value of USD294 million per year) were reported as imported worldwide during 2000–2016.

Report co-author Nicola Okes called for urgent action to combat the over-exploitation and lack of accurate catch and trade information on sharks and rays. 


“As key high order predators, the continued wellbeing of these populations is essential to the overall health of our oceans. We need the main catchers to take responsibility and put in place monitoring and management measures to stop further declines of sharks and rays.”


The report follows the successful listing of longfin and shortfin mako sharks in the CITES1 Appendix II at the 18th Conference of the Parties held in Geneva last month. The Proposals were accepted in response to population declines, made worse by over-exploitation and unsustainable trade.


Several species protected under CITES regulations are assessed in the report, including silky shark, mobulid rays, and blue shark. In 2017 alone, more than 103,528 mt of blue shark were reported as caught. 


“We have seen a greater use of trade controls through CITES over the last decade as a response to declines in sharks and rays being overfished for trade,” said Glenn Sant, TRAFFIC’s senior advisor on fisheries, trade and traceability.


“We would also like to see major importers scrutinising the sustainability of the shark and ray products they import using tools such as M-Risk, developed by TRAFFIC. Major importers need to take responsibility for their sustainability footprint as a result of importing products from species at high risk of overexploitation”.

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.