In March 2013, Parties to CITES added porbeagle and oceanic whitetip sharks, three species of hammerhead sharks—scalloped, great, and smooth—as well as all species of manta ray to CITES Appendix II. Appendix II listed species can still be traded legally but only if the trade does not cause a detriment to the species in the wild.
Pew Fundation recently released a report on the CITES work on this topic. It seems that Hong Kong is playing (finally) ball... but as I mention in some post before (here and here), this is only the legal side :-)
Over 50% of the annual global shark fin trade passes through Hong Kong SAR, making effective implementation of the CITES listings there particularly important. Hong Kong SAR imported 5,759 metric tons of shark fin and other shark products in 2014, according to data from its Census and Statistics Department.
Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department (AFCD) has been at the forefront of global efforts to implement the new listings, ensuring that Hong Kong SAR is fully compliant with CITES obligations.
On top of strong domestic legislation to implement the listings, AFCD has run more than a week’s worth of workshops, helping train customs and enforcement officials on how to visually identify fins from the listed species. The agency is also supported by the Government Laboratory, which has developed genetic testing protocols to confirm whether fins come from listed species.
The importation of shark fins into Hong Kong SAR is being monitored, and CITES-listed species are being allowed in only when their exports were authorized by exporting countries. Fins from these species traded without permits are now confiscated upon arrival in Hong Kong SAR.
How easy is to get permits in some countries, is definitively the next question