A plan to regulate the trade in several species of shark common in UAE waters has been rejected at an international conservation meeting in Qatar, a move that wildlife monitors branded "a catastrophe". Delegates at the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) snubbed a proposal to add protections for the great hammerhead and the scalloped hammerhead. Both species are on sale in UAE fish markets. Although their meat is also sold, the most valuable part of the shark is the fin, which is often sold here for re-export to the Far East. There, it is used for soup.
If passed, the regulations would have required all trade in the sharks to be licensed. Although the UAE initially rejected the proposal, it voted in favour of an amended version. That version secured a majority, but failed to win enough votes to pass. "Unfortunately, the requirement is for a two-thirds majority," said Dr Thabit al Abdessalaam, the director of biodiversity sector at the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi and a member of the UAE delegation.