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More terrestrial fauna placed under CITES
22/ 03/ 2010

More terrestrial fauna placed under CITESThree years after a similar proposal was rejected at the Hague meeting, delegates have defeated for the second time the attempt to list some additional precious corals in CITES.

Proposal to regulate trade in red and pink corals widely used in jewellery defeated again
Doha, 21 March 2010 - A two-week meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) decided by consensus today to include several reptiles and amphibians from Central America and the Islamic Republic of Iran in its lists.
Governments did not have any objection to regulating trade in a Guatemalan Spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura palearis) and other three species of iguanas native to central and south-eastern Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula and Central America. These iguanas are mainly vegetarian, but occasionally feed on insects (ants, wasps and beetles), and are known to be in demand for the international exotic pet trade, mainly in Europe and the United States.
The CITES summit also adopted measures to protect a whole genus of tree frogs from Central and South America that is under pressure owing to habitat degradation and loss, and to the fungal disease (chytridiomycosis). Some of these frogs are subject to international trade.
Continuing in the same trend for terrestrial species, a salamander endemic to the Islamic Republic of Iran was also listed by consensus in Appendix I, which means that international commercial trade is prohibited. The Kaiser's newt (Neurergus kaiseri) is protected in its range State and the main concern is the demand for this species on the international market. Individuals caught in the wild are being illegally exported and find their way into the pet trade for use in aquaria.
Towards the end of the afternoon, the agenda turned again to marine species to consider a proposal submitted by the United States to control trade in 31 species of red and pink precious corals (Appendix II). Three years after a similar proposal was rejected at the Hague meeting, delegates have defeated for the second time (with 64 votes in favour, 59 against and 10 abstentions) the attempt to list some additional precious corals in CITES (black corals are already protected by CITES).
The family Coralliidae includes over 30 pink and red coral species, the most commercially valuable precious corals. These species have been fished for millennia, and millions of items are traded internationally each year. According to the proposal of the United States, the greatest risk to populations of Coralliidae is fishing to supply international trade, with landings that have declining by 60-80 % since the 1980s, and reductions in the size structure of populations in fished areas equivalent to a loss of 80-90 % of the reproductive modules (polyps). International demand has contributed to serial depletions of most known populations of pink and red corals, and newly-discovered stocks have been rapidly exhausted.
In early December 2009, an FAO Expert Panel concluded that the available evidence did not support the proposal to include all species in the family Coralliidae (Corallium spp. andParacorallium spp.) in CITES Appendix II.
The Panel considered that populations representing a large proportion of the abundance of the seven species [Coralliumrubrum, C. japonicum, C. secondum, C. elatius, C. konojoi, Coralliumsp. nov., C. lauuense (C. regale)] (globally did not meet the biological criteria for listing in Appendix II.
Lack of sufficient scientific evidence and the impact on the livelihoods of costal local populations depending on corals were the main arguments advanced by the opponents to this proposal. Coming tomorrow, elephant conservation and ivory sales.
Note to journalists: For more information, contact Juan Carlos Vasquez at +974-4175621 or +974-5692804 (cell), or juan.vasquez@cites.org

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