Whale Sharks are legally protected in Australian Commonwealth waters and the states of Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia (regulations control human interactions in the latter state), the Maldives, Philippines, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Honduras, Mexico, US Atlantic waters and a small area off Belize (Fowler 2000, Anon. 2002b). Full legal protection is under consideration in South Africa and Taiwan (POC) has recently introduced an annual quota for its fishery. In 1999 the whale shark was listed on Appendix II of the Bonn Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). This identifies it as a species whose conservation status would benefit from the implementation of international cooperative Agreements (Fowler 2000). A US proposal to add the Whale Shark to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was rejected by the 11th Conference of Parties in 2000, but a revised proposal, submitted by Philippines and India, was accepted by the 12th Conference in 2002 and came into force at the end February 2003. This requires fishing states to demonstrate that any exports were derived from a sustainably managed population and to enable exports and imports to be monitored.
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