October 2012

37 countries pushing for shark and ray trade measures

The oceanic whitetip shark, porbeagle, both manta rays, and the smooth hammerhead are listed by IUCN as globally Vulnerable. The freshwater stingrays are considered Data Deficient.

Porbeagles are prized for meat as well as fins. Manta rays are increasingly targeted for their gill rakers, which are used in Chinese medicine. Freshwater stingrays are traded for display in aquariums.

The porbeagle proposal comes from the EU and is cosponsored by Brazil, Comoros, and Egypt. Ecuador has put forth the mantas while Colombia has proposed the freshwater stingrays.

Baie D'Ambodi-Vahibe, northeast Madagascar.
Baie D'Ambodi-Vahibe, northeast Madagascar.

Western Indian Ocean has world’s second most diverse coral reefs

Of the 369 coral species identified so far in the region, at sites in the northern Mozambique Channel, the scientists found 250-300 species, while sites in northern Kenya, the Gulf of Aden and the outer Seychelles islands had 200 or fewer species. The findings also suggest the total diversity of corals in the region may approach 450 species, equivalent to the Great Barrier Reef and Andaman islands, which are on the edges of the Coral Triangle, which would make the northern Mozambique Channel home to the second most diverse coral populations on the planet.