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Sharks appear to be getting an image makeover as countries move to restrict trade in several species of the oceans' top predator in a push to extend more protections to marine species. International restrictions on trade in 18 species of sharks and rays and three sea cucumber species appear set to take effect, following a series of votes in Geneva Sunday at a meeting of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. CITES, which regulates trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals, came into being more than four decades ago, but it was not until 2003 that a shark species was included in its listings.Unregulated fishing and trade can meanwhile have a devastating effect for many species of shark and ray mature slowly and have few young, meaning it takes a long time for threatened populations to recover.
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