Author: Tara Haelle
Source: Slate.com 
This year was different. All three hammerhead species, the porbeagle shark, the oceanic whitetip, and manta rays have joined the basking shark, whale shark, and great white shark on Appendix II, which requires permits to export these species. That may not sound like much, but countries can issue permits only if fishermen prove they caught the sharks legally and sustainably—a tall order because many populations of these species have declined more than 90 percent in just the last half-century. In fact, a week before CITES convened, a study found that approximately 100 million sharks are being killed each year, primarily to meet demand for the shark fin trade. Oceanic whitetip fins can bring in $45 a pound; hammerhead fins can fetch double that. "These seriously threatened sharks and rays can finally get some breathing room to recover," says Rick MacPherson, the conservation programs director at the Coral Reef Alliance.
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