Washington, DC /eNewsChannels/ — The United States has joined the Philippines and forty other nations in adopting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote the conservation and management of migratory sharks. The United States signed the MOU, along with nine other governments, on February 12, 2010, in Manila. The MOU is worldwide in scope and takes effect immediately for its signatories.

The MOU was negotiated under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species to foster scientific research on, and to enhance the conservation and management of, seven initial species of migratory sharks: the Basking, Great White, Longfin and Shortfin Mako, Porbeagle, northern hemisphere Spiny Dogfish and Whale sharks. Signatories to the MOU may subsequently include other shark species in need of conservation.

Under the Chairmanship of the Philippines and with the support of the Secretariat of the Convention on Migratory Species, the negotiations successfully navigated several technically complex and challenging issues in order to reach agreement. These included the number of species to be covered, the legal nature of the MOU, and the relationship between the MOU and the overarching Conservation of Migratory Sharks.

The U.S. delegation to the negotiations was led by the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science and was composed of representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service.

Migratory sharks are threatened primarily through unsustainable or unregulated fishing, as well as loss of habitat and other changing ocean conditions. Given their migratory patterns, the sharks require international cooperation in order for any conservation and management measures to be effective.

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