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(Participants at shark and ray conservation workshop in Dakar, Senegal).

Nov. 29  -Dec. 1, 2016 - Dakar, Senegal –NOAA Fisheries and nine West African countries have developed recommendations to further strengthen shark and ray conservation in the region. Officials from Benin, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal, Togo, Gabon and Cape Verde representing Customs, the environment, and fisheries ministries, met this month in Dakar, Senegal, to address priority needs of the West African region. The workshop, co-hosted by the Governments of Senegal and Togo with support from NOAA Fisheries in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was aimed at facilitating the implementation of the shark and ray listings in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Officials discussed the identification of shark and ray products in trade, improvements to data collection and monitoring, and how to make legal acquisition findings and non-detriment findings for CITES-listed shark and ray species. In addition to training, roundtable exercises, and discussion, a list of priority recommendations for next steps to further strengthen CITES implementation and interagency and regional coordination was developed. These recommendations build off the 2014 Dakar Action Plan, which outlines key objectives that the West African region agreed to achieve effective implementation of the CITES shark and ray listings adopted at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, and address Customs, CITES and Fisheries authorities towards actions to strengthen CITES implementation.

 Mr. Koudanou, representative of the CITES management authority of Togo and Mr. Aziaba, representative of the Fisheries and Marine Ministry of Togo, participating in the sharks fins identification training. Abba Sonko, CITES Management Authority of Senegal, officially opens the workshop with formal remarks, followed by Honorable Abdoulaye Baldé, Senegal’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development and Laura Cimo, NOAA Fisheries Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection.  Dr. Mika Diop, Commission Sous Régionale de Pêche (CSRP) demonstrates shark fin identification techniques to workshop participants.