Landmark shark ban upheld

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Pro-shark fishing nations have narrowly failed to overturn a landmark protection deal struck at the Cites conservation conference in Bangkok.

Japan and China tried to block trade regulations on three critically endangered shark species by re-opening the debate in the final session.

But delegates refused the request by a wafer-thin majority and the shark ban was upheld.

The decision is being seen as a landmark win for animal conservation.

Campaigners say it is a truly historic day for the species, in which science triumphed over politics.

On Monday, the decision to increase protection for oceanic whitetips, porbeagle and hammerhead sharks had only scraped past the two-thirds majorities required by a handful of votes.

Campaigners had been extremely worried that China and Japan, the main opponents of the measures, would be able to muster the one-third support needed to re-open the debate and block the ban.

In a tense session here in the conference centre, they failed by just over 1%.

‘Major step’

UK environment minister David Heath, who had just arrived in Bangkok, told BBC News that this was a great day for the Convention.

“I