16th meeting of the Conference of Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
In March 2013, 178 countries convened in Bangkok, Thailand, for the 16th meeting of the Conference of Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Representatives from HSI attended the meeting, seeking stronger protection for marine species in particular. And we are delighted to report a big win!
Following many hours of consideration and debate, the following five species of sharks and two species of manta rays were listed in Appendix II of CITES:
Oceanic whitetip shark Carcharhinus longimanus (proposed by Brazil, Colombia & the US)
Scalloped hammerhead Sphyrna lewini, Smooth hammerhead Sphyrna zygaena and Great Hammerhead Sphyrna mokarran sharks (proposed by Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, The EU, Ecuador, Honduras & Mexico)
Porbeagle shark Lamna nasus (proposed by Brazil, Comoros, Croatia, the EU & Egypt)
Manta rays Manta spp. (proposed by Brazil, Colombia & Ecuador)
This victory for sharks means that following an 18 month implementation delay, international trade in these species will need to be regulated. Sadly three species of freshwater stingray (proposed by Colombia & Ecuador) were not successful and were rejected by Parties, but we are hopeful that the necessary further discussions will get underway for some of these species shortly.
HSI was an active supporter for the listing of all of these species under Appendix II of CITES as a result of dramatic population declines of all these species, driven by the unsustainable level of fishing of sharks for the trade in their fins and other products. Shark fins are highly valued in international trade, particularly in Asia where they are used to make shark fin soup. This has led to the over exploitation of these vulnerable species. For more details on the threats facing our sharks - CLICK HERE
HSI is also excited to report an Australian proposal to up-list the freshwater sawfish, Pristis microdon, in Appendix I of CITES was also accepted by consensus. HSI' s Alexia Wellbelove gave the following intervention on the floor of the meeting in support of the proposal:
' Thank you, Madam Chair.
On behalf of Humane Society International (a member of the Species Survival Network), Shark Advocates International, Project AWARE, Wildlife Conservation Society, the German Elasmobranch Society, and Shark Trust, we express our strong support for this proposal.
All of the world' s sawfishes are classified by IUCN as Critically Endangered, making them some of the oceans' most threatened species. The freshwater sawfish has been nearly extirpated in most of its former Indo-West Pacific range, and yet was denied CITES Appendix I protection in 2007 when all other sawfish species were listed as such.
In fact, it has been sixteen years since the U.S. first proposed listing this and other sawfish species on CITES Appendix I. Uplisting Pristis microdon can bolster enforcement of protections for other species and help prevent extinction for these remarkable animals.
We urge Parties to accept this sound proposal.
Thank you, Chair.'
Other species proposals of interest to HSI being considered at the meeting included the polar bear Ursus maritimus, NZ green geckos Naultinus spp., and the West African manatee Trichechus senegalensis, amongst many others. Sadly despite significant support from many parties, and active work from HSI and other conservation groups, the proposal to ban the international trade in polar bear products was not successful. In better news, the NZ green geckos, the West African manatee and many species of turtles also gained increased protection from trade under CITES. The full list of outcomes from the conference against each proposal can be viewed in the attached document.
HSI actively undertook its role as coordinator of the Oceania bureau of the Species Survival Network, lobbying on a broad range of proposals. The Species Survival Network is a worldwide coalition of more than 90 conservation, environment and animal welfare organisations that work together to protect species affected by international trade through CITES. Full details on our positions on each of these proposals can be seen at Species Survival Network CoP16 Digest
For further information on HSI' s work on CITES - CLICK HERE
HISTORIC DAY AT CITES AS SPECIES SURVIVE PLENERY
14th March 2013 click here
HORNS OF DILEMMA AT CITES, AND A ROSY DECISION FOR ROSEWOOD
13th March 2013 click here
SHARKS TAKE OVER AT CITES
12 March 2013 click here
MIXED NEWS FROM CITES AS CRITICAL DAY FOR SHARKS BEGINS
11th March 2013 click here
REPTILES DOMINATE AT CITES
March 11th 2013 click here
INCREASED PROTECTION FOR WEST AFRICAN MANATEE AND INTRODUCTION FOR THE SEA PROPOSAL ADOPTED
8th March 2013 click here
DISCUSSIONS ON SPECIES PROPOSALS BEGINS AT CITES
7th March 2013 click here
DEBATE OVER GLOBAL SHARK AND RAY TRADE HEATS UP
6th March 2013 click here
INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE TRADE MEETING GETS UNDERWAY IN BANGKOK
1st March 2013 click here
For news archives of previous CITES meetings click here