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Action Alert - CITES 2010      

Urge Australia to support global species protection at cites 

Sydney, 17th December 2009


The proposals for animals and plants to be added or removed from the global list of species controlled in trade under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) have now been submitted. Parties to the Convention will be meeting in Qatar in March 2010 (CoP15), and the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) is currently seeking input into Australia's position on the proposals being considered.

Representatives from HSI will be attending the meeting, to push for stronger protection for marine species in particular. Species proposals of interest to HSI being considered at the meeting include proposals on eight species of sharks, the Polar Bear, Northern Bluefin Tuna, Kaiser's Newt, Tree Frogs, African Elephant and the Bobcat, amongst many others. HSI will be working hard over the coming months to secure protection for these and a number of other species. HSI works with colleagues internationally as part of the Species Survival Network, a coalition of more than 80 other organisations.

Action required by 8th January 2010:

The Australian Government is currently inviting views on the agenda items to be considered at the March 2010 meeting. HSI has written to the Government outlining the position it suggests Australia takes at the meeting.

Following are some suggestions to include in your submissions:

Ask that Australia support:

  • The Sweden (on behalf of the EU) and Palau proposals to list the Porbeagle and Spiny Dogfish sharks on Appendix II. These species have suffered huge population declines resulting from harvest and trade.
  • The US and Palau proposal to include the Oceanic Whitetip shark in Appendix II. This formerly widespread species is subject to unsustainable fishing throughout its range, with drastic declines reported for some stocks. The high value of the fins and low value of the met has led to widespread finning. Listing on Appendix II will ensure that international trade is sustainably managed and accurately recorded, as per FAO's International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks).
  • The US and Palau proposal to include the Scalloped Hammerhead shark (and Great Hammerhead, Smooth Hammerhead, Sandbar shark & Dusky shark as ' ˜look-alike' species) on Appendix II. The endangered Scalloped Hammerhead is increasingly targeted for its fins, which are highly desired and valuable in the international shark fin trade. Listing on Appendix II will ensure that international trade is sustainably managed and accurately recorded, as per the FAO's International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks).
  • Monaco's proposal to list the Northern Bluefin Tuna on Appendix I. This species has suffered marked declines due to overexploitation. This species is particularly vulnerable to overexploitation because it is a late maturing, low productivity species, with stocks declining to below 15% of the historical baseline. There has been a failure by ICCAT to properly manage the species, with no means of ensuring that quotas set are enforced or reporting accurate, and therefore without strong and swift international action the species faces commercial extinction.
  • The USA proposal to transfer the Polar Bear from Appendix II to Appendix I. Polar bear populations are undergoing a marked decline and in Canada, which exports polar bear specimens, over half of the populations are declining and many have been over-exploited. Stricter protection for the species is required to ensure that the primarily commercial trade does not compound the threats posed to the species by loss of habitat.
  • The Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Rwanda & Sierra Leone African Elephant proposal to amend the nine-year ivory trade moratorium agreed at CoP14 so that it applies to all range states and be extended to 20 years. This is the only way to provide the necessary ' ˜resting period' so that range states can tackle poaching and illegal trade in a trade-free environment.
  • The Honduras and Mexican proposal to list Tree Frogs on Appendix II. Tree frogs are exploited for the international pet trade, however wild populations are declining, some drastically. As a result of the species' limited and fragmented distributions, they are threatened by over-exploitation for international commercial trade.
  • The Iranian proposal to include the Kaiser's Newt in Appendix I. This is a critically endangered species, the population of which is threatened primarily due to illegal collection for the international pet trade. If not brought under control, this trade will likely result in the extinction of the species.

Ask that Australia oppose:

  • The USA proposal to delete the Bobcat from Appendix II. European states have confirmed their concerns about this proposal, due to potential impacts on the populations of the Iberian lynx (the most endangered cat in the world) and the Eurasian lynx. This proposal has been proposed four times, most recently at the last meeting in 2007, when it was soundly rejected.
  • The proposals by Tanzania and Zambia to downlist the African Elephant populations and increase the trade in raw ivory. No trade in ivory, commercial or non-commercial, should be approved while illegal trade and poaching remain a serious threat to elephants across many parts of Africa and Asia. Adoption of these proposals would undermine efforts to address problems.
Please send your comments to:
Australian CITES Management Authority
International Wildlife Trade Section
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
PO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Email: wildlife.communications@environment.gov.au
Further information:
For more information on the consultation see the DEWHA website, http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/cites/cop/index.html
The documents for species proposals and agenda items can be accessed at the CITES website at http://www.cites.org/eng/cop/15/raw_props.shtml
The Species Survival Network (SSN) has produced a digest of recommendations on the proposals. These can be accessed from the SSN website at http://www.ssn.org/Meetings/cop/cop15/Factsheets/SSN_Digest_EN.pdf

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