Quarter of shark species under threat

ONE in four species of shark are seriously threatened by unregulated commercial fishing and the trade in shark parts for human consumption, experts have warned.

The top predators are in dire need of protection, according to conservationists, who say the fact 100 million sharks are killed every year poses a threat to the survival of some species.

The status of four types of shark is to be voted on at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) conference, which is under way in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Yesterday, delegates were expected to decide whether to increase protection for the silky shark and three species of thresher shark.

A yes vote would mean the sharks were protected under the CITES appendix II, which bans all trade in parts except under stringent conditions.

A coalition of conservation organisations, which is working to secure the listing also wants to see several types of devil ray, a sister species to sharks, protected.