By Dr. Thomas Althaus
The jaws of a great white shark
(Carcharodon carcharias) are worth CHF 15,000 on the world
CITES refers to the "U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora".
As the name clearly states, it is a trade convention serving the
protection of species. CITES deals with international traffic (imports, exports, reexport,
"the bringing in from the sea") of living animals and plants as well as - clearly
recognizable - animal and plant products of certain species.
It is very difficult to put sharks on the CITES lists of endangered species. Cites demands very
explicit scientific data on the species. Such data are not yet available for many endangered sharks
Another basic difficulty encountered in shark protection is the fact that CITES becomes
effective too late, namely only after the animals have been caught and killed, in other
words after the damage has actually been done.