PARIS: Indonesia and India on Tuesday were named as the world’s biggest catchers of sharks in an EU-backed probe into implementing a new pact to protect seven threatened species of sharks and rays.

Indonesia and India account for more than a fifth of global shark catches, according to the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

They head the list of 20 countries that together account for nearly 80 percent of total shark catch reported between 2002 and 2011.

The others, in descending order, are Spain, Taiwan, Argentina, Mexico, the United States, Malaysia, Pakistan, Brazil, Japan, France, New Zealand, Thailand, Portugal, Nigeria, Iran, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Yemen. The report was requested by the EU’s executive European Commission following the listing of seven species of sharks and rays by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Bangkok last March. The regulations will take effect in September 2014 to give countries time to determine what is a sustainable level of trade in these sharks and how their industries can adapt to it.

Shark numbers have been decimated by overfishing, caused in great part by a demand for shark fins in China.

The absence of this apex predator has a big knock-on effect on the main biodiversity chain.–AFP