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Sharks may finally get the respect they deserve, thanks to a global effort to protect these vulnerable creatures.

Thirty-five countries — including Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and the members of the European Union — have submitted seven species of sharks and manta rays for consideration by the 176 members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora next March. The recommendations include porbeagle and oceanic whitetip sharks, three species of hammerhead sharks and two types of manta rays.

"Countries cannot continue to watch as these sharks and rays are driven to the brink of extinction; measures need to be put in place now to regulate international trade in these species," said Elizabeth Wilson, manager of shark conservation at the Pew Environment Group, said in a press statement. "This is not just about sharks; it's about keeping the world's oceans healthy. CITES has the chance in Bangkok to help save these species."

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