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Hi all, The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meets every 3 years, and 177 member nations vote on whether to grant international protection to certain highly threatened and endangered species. For the first time, two manta and seven species of shark are on the agenda for potential listing. The meeting is being held from 3 March (Sunday) to 14 March in Bangkok, Thailand. It goes without saying that anything that you can do to put pressure on the delegates to add the sharks and rays to the endangered list is now needed. PEW is publishing a series of audio podcasts about CITES and how important this meeting is for their survival. You can listen to them here. There are a large number of conservation organizations seeking your support. May I suggest that any you come across, you share below so that the Wetpixel community can mobilize? Here are some for starters: Shark Defenders: http://www.sharkdefenders.com/p/shark-stanley.html Protect Manta Rays: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Protect_Manta_Rays Project AWARE: http://www.projectaware.org/project/setting-our-sights-cites Adam
In the past 3 years I have traveled to the corners of the planet, to some of the most remote and inaccessible coastal regions, to document the unchecked and often secret slaughter of one of the most graceful, charismatic, gentle and vulnerable of marine species…the Manta Ray. Several years ago I teamed up with my good friend and uncompromising conservation photographer Paul Hilton, to expose this senseless destruction and to try to put an end to it. This mission took us on an unforgettable journey, one that exposed us to constant danger, threat of violence, brutal conditions, exhaustion and incredible frustration. But what we were not prepared for, was the extent and brutality of the manta fisheries, and how the shark fin trader network had become the driving force behind this exploitation. What we witnessed tore at our hearts, blackened our souls, and all but crushed what hope remained within us. Read the FULL STORY: