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Press Release

Aquatic species dominate UN-backed scientific meeting
22/ 03/ 2012

Aquatic species dominate UN-backed scientific meetingExperts recommend measures to reduce unsustainable trade in corals, dolphins, sharks and seahorses, among other species.

Geneva, 21 March 2012 Geneva, 21 March 2012 – The 26th meeting of the Animals Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) today moves from Geneva, to continue in Dublin, Ireland, where the Committee will convene jointly with the CITES Plants Committee. During the sessions in Geneva, important recommendations were formulated, aimed at ensuring that trade in CITES-listed species of animals is sustainable and based on sound scientific management. The five-days in Geneva focused heavily on aquatic species.

Over 150 experts met in Geneva from 15 to 20 March. They recommended cautious export quotas for a variety of species and countries, including seahorses from Southeast Asia, giant clams from the Pacific and sturgeons from the Caspian Sea. Furthermore, the Committee recommended that exports of live dolphins from Solomon Islands should be limited to a maximum of 10 animals a year. The Committee discussed a list of shark species submitted by member States that may require additional action to enhance their conservation and management (see list attached).

Germany announced that is considering preparing a proposal to include porbeagle (Lamna nasus) in Appendix II, and submitted a draft to the Committee for comments. Senegal submitted a draft proposal to transfer West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) from Appendix II to Appendix I for advice. The Committee noted the proposals and the issue of how to determine whether a commercially exploited aquatic species qualifies for listing on CITES Appendices.

The Committee also examined international trade in Asian snakes, tortoises and freshwater turtles, endemic reptiles and amphibians from Madagascar, scorpions and African birds. Scientists expressed serious concern about trade from certain African countries in grey-crowned and blackcrowned cranes (Balearica regulorum and B. pavonina), large waterbirds that typically inhabit open land near inland water bodies. International trade in cranes consists principally of live, wild-taken birds, with trade in captive-bred specimens also reported. Between 2000 and 2010, trade in some 1,300 live birds has been recoded. Specific recommendations were adopted to protect the crane populations of Guinea, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda.

Mr Carlos Ibero, Chair of the Animals Committee, stated: "I am glad to see that the Committee was able to focus on key aquatic species such as sharks, dolphins and corals in preparation for the upcoming meeting of the Conference of the Parties to be held in Bangkok in March 2013".

CITES Secretary-General, John E. Scanlon, said: "It is essential that we provide CITES Parties with sound science and the best available information and advice upon which to base their decisions at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties. We are most grateful to the Committee for the scientific expertise they bring to the work of CITES, which is a critical part of the success of our Convention".

The CITES Animal Committee provides its technical and scientific advice to help ensure sustainability of international trade in specimens of over 4,500 CITES-listed species of animals, including caviar from sturgeons and reptile skins used in luxury goods.

The 26th meeting of the Animals Committee will be followed by three scientific meetings that will be held in Dublin, Ireland: a joint session of the 26th meeting of the Animals Committee and the 20th meeting of the Plants Committees, from 22 to 24 March; the fifth meeting of the Chairs of the Scientific Advisory Bodies of the Biodiversity-related Conventions (CSAB), on 25 March; and the 20th meeting of the Plants Committee, from 26 to 30 March.

Note to editors: The documents for the 26th meeting of the Animals Committee and the 20th meeting of the Plants Committees, are available at:

http://www.cites.org/eng/com/ac/26/index.php

http://www.cites.org/eng/com/pc/20/index.php

For more information, please contact Juan Carlos Vasquez à +41 22 917 8156 or juan.vasquez@cites.org.

Further Resources
CITES official site