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article imageUSA, Cuba discuss collaboration to protect Gulf of Mexico sharks

By Igor I. Solar     Sep 13, 2010 in Environment
Havana - Cuba and United States environmental scientists and government officials gathered last week in Havana to discuss the preservation of sharks in the Gulf of Mexico, a project that would also involve specialist from Mexico.
For the governments of Cuba and the United States, this program would open the possibility of collaborating on subjects of nature conservation at a time when "there is a trend to deal with bilateral problems," said an unidentified Cuban official.
"The Gulf of Mexico is an ecosystem; it's not just the U.S. gulf. The shark is a highly migratory fish that moves between the countries and is in trouble," said Pamela Baker, Gulf policy advisor for the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). It is expected that the collaboration will involve EDF, Mote Marine Laboratory, Florida, and scientists from Mexico.
Studies and statistics estimate that the population of all shark species in the Gulf of Mexico have been
The demand for shark fins for soup in China has led to an increase in shark catches. Only the fins a...
The demand for shark fins for soup in China has led to an increase in shark catches. Only the fins are taken, while the rest of the shark is discarded, usually into the sea.
A. Hungry
reduced in about 50%, and close to 70 million sharks are caught every year mostly to satisfy China's demand for shark fins, which steadily increases as China economy improves.
Despite political disagreements lasting for about half a century, the USA and Cuba agree that "many well-known species of sharks are at risk" and plan to expand on current initiatives for "cultural exchange" to hold discussions on matters of mutual interest relative to science and the environment. Still, it is anticipated that the program will also have to navigate remaining hurdles in U.S.-Cuba relations, which have shown some improvement since president Barack Obama took office.
The recent accident in the British Petroleum oil-drilling platform, and the severe oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, have motivated or re-activated new habitat protection projects in the Gulf.
Dr. Douglas Rader, chief ocean scientist at EDF, called in August for USA cooperation with Cuba and Mexico emphasizing that "many well-known species of sharks are at risk".
More about Gulf of Mexico, British petroleum, Oil spill, Threatened sharks
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