Countries agree to protect endangered sharks and rays

Countries have agreed to protect more than a dozen shark species at risk of extinction, in a move aimed at conserving some of the ocean’s most awe-inspiring creatures who have themselves become prey to commercial fishing and the Chinese appetite for shark fin soup.

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Three proposals covering the international trade of 18 types of mako sharks, wedgefishes and guitarfishes each passed with a needed two-thirds majority in a committee of the World Wildlife Conference known as CITES on Sunday.

The move isn’t final but is a key sign before an official decision at its plenary this week.

Conservationists applauded and exchanged hugs after the tallies. Opponents variously included China, Iceland, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand. The U.S. voted against the mako shark measure, but supported the other two.

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