Sharks and rays

Pew Trust shark and ray conservation press release images

Global Gathering at Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru

Media Tele-Conference: 11:30 am-12:30 pm (Malé time) August 23, 2016


Landaa Giraavaru, Maldives: The government of the Maldives is hosting a historic meeting of senior international officials at Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru on  August 23, 2016 – 30 days before the world gathers in Johannesburg, South Africa, to vote on proposals to list silky sharks, thresher sharks and mobula rays at the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Ministers and senior officials from the Maldives will welcome their counterparts from Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Fiji, India, Mauritania, Senegal, and Sri Lanka to the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve to discuss the crisis facing these species. Some of the attendees hail from nations with large fisheries while others with ecotourism contributing a large part to their GDP; yet no matter their background, they are gathering to reiterate that shark conservation is a priority issue worldwide.


Media are invited to join a tele-conference call from 11.30am – 12:30pm (Malé time)

Available for tele-conference interviews are:

  •  Honourable Minister Thoriq Ibrahim

Ministry of Environment and Energy, Maldives


  • Chandrasiri Bandara

Additional Secretary, Ministry of Wildlife and Sustainable Development, Sri Lanka


  • Honourable Associate Minister Lorna Eden 

Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Environment, Fiji

  • Luke Warwick
    Director of The Pew Charitable Trusts, Global Shark Conservation Campaign, USA

Achmat Hassiem, a South African Paralympic medalist who lost his leg to a great white shark, and Virgin Founder, Richard Branson, are also slated to open the meeting via video messages. Over the past year, both have been outspoken about the need for further CITES protection for vulnerable shark species, and continue to voice their support. These video messages will be available for viewing by media.


To set up interviews for the tele-conference call or access the video messages, please contact Barb Cvrkel at

or Juliana Ang at



About The Event

The Global Summit on Sharks and Rays at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru will be the first time these leaders have gathered outside of their region to focus on a pan-global discussion to ensure sharks and rays are a priority at this year’s CITES CoP.

These three proposals are already groundbreaking. Four years ago, it was thought to be near impossible to obtain global protection for commercially traded shark species under CITES. And now, never before in the history of CITES have any proposals garnered as much co-sponsor support – with 50 countries signed as co-proponents of at least one of the three proposals.

The arguments for support are significant. Despite each species suffering declines of up to 70% in all their known habitats, current fishery management measures have failed to adequately protect them.  Globally, over 100 million sharks continue to be killed annually, largely unregulated.

An Appendix II CITES listing will help ensure that the trade of thresher sharks, silky sharks, and mobula rays is capped at sustainable levels – almost 10% of the global shark fin trade – so they may survive to benefit generations to come.

In the past month alone, African, Pacific and Latin American countries have met regionally to coordinate their support for these listings. This global summit will create a single voice that accurately harnesses the worldwide momentum and support for effective and enforceable shark protection worldwide.


For more information, please visit


About Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru lies in the Baa Atoll – declared the Maldives’ and Indian Ocean’s first UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in June 2011. Having supported the Atoll Ecosystem Conservation Project on essential plans and assessments in the drive towards UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve status, Four Seasons remains dedicated to supporting the drive to make the Reserve a world-class example of its kind.

The Resort is the base of The Manta Trust, today the world’s leading manta ray charity. Started at the Resort in 2005 as the Maldivian Manta Ray Project, The Manta Trust has now documented more than 30,000 sightings of over 3,700 Maldivian reef mantas, making it the most intensely studied manta population anywhere in the world. The Resort is also home to a Marine Discovery Centre manned by a team of marine biologists from Maldivian environmental consultancy, Seamarc Pvt. On-site conservation programmes include a Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (established in 2010 to care for injured turtles from all over the Maldives) and Reefscapers, one of the most successful reef propagation projects of its kind in the world, designed to boost existing reef habitats and generate new ones.


Please visit for more information.




For media enquiries or high-resolution image requests, please contact:


Juliana Ang                                                      Barbara Cvrkel

Director of Public Relations                           Officer Communications

Four Seasons Resorts Maldives                      The Pew Charitable Trusts

Four Seasons Explorer                                   Tel: (+1) 202-540 6535

Tel:      (65) 6514 8281                                    Email:

Fax:     (65) 6835 9839                                    Web: