Wildlife convention boosts safety for sharks, turtles

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PANAMA CITY — A global wildlife convention moved to enact a number of the most important safety for shark species focused within the fin commerce and scores of turtles, lizards and frogs whose numbers are being decimated by the pet commerce.

The Conference on Worldwide Commerce in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, identified by its initials as CITES, ended Friday in Panama. In a document for the convention, delegates enacted protections for over 500 species. The United Nations wildlife convention additionally rejected a proposal to reopen the ivory commerce. An ivory ban was enacted in 1989.

“The Parties to CITES are fully aware of their responsibility to address the biodiversity loss crisis by taking action to ensure that the international trade in wildlife is sustainable, legal and traceable,” Secretary-Normal Ivonne Higuero stated in a press release.

“Trade underpins human well-being, but we need to mend our relationship with nature,” she stated. “The decisions coming from this meeting will serve the interests of conservation and wildlife trade, that doesn’t threaten the existence of species of plants and animals in the wild, for future generations.”

The worldwide wildlife commerce treaty, which was adopted 49 years in the past in Washington, D.C., has been praised for serving to stem the unlawful and unsustainable commerce in ivory and rhino horns in addition to in whales and sea turtles.

But it surely has come beneath hearth for its limitations, together with its reliance on cash-strapped creating international locations to fight unlawful commerce that’s turn into a profitable $10 billion-a-year enterprise.

One of many largest achievement this 12 months was growing or offering safety for greater than 90 shark species, together with 54 species of requiem sharks, the bonnethead shark, three species of hammerhead shark and 37 species of guitarfish. Many had by no means earlier than had commerce safety and now, beneath Appendix II, the industrial commerce can be regulated.

International shark populations are declining, with annual deaths as a consequence of fisheries reaching about 100 million. The sharks are sought principally for his or her fins, that are utilized in shark fin soup, a well-liked delicacy in China and elsewhere in Asia.

“These species are threatened by the unsustainable and unregulated fisheries that supply the international trade in their meat and fins, which has driven extensive population declines,” Rebecca Regnery, senior director for wildlife at Humane Society Worldwide, stated in a press release. “With Appendix II listing, CITES Parties can allow trade only if it is not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild, giving these species help they need to recover from over-exploitation.”

The convention additionally enacted protections for dozens of species of turtle, lizard and 160 amphibian species together with glass frogs whose translucent pores and skin made them a favourite within the pet commerce. A number of species of tune birds additionally obtained commerce safety in addition to 150 tree species.

“Already under immense ecological pressure resulting from habitat loss, climate change and disease, the unmanaged and growing trade in glass frogs is exacerbating the already existing threats to the species,” Danielle Kessler, the U.S. nation director for the Worldwide Fund for Animal Welfare, stated in a press release. “This trade must be regulated and limited to sustainable levels to avoid compounding the multiple threats they already face.”

However a number of the extra controversial proposals weren’t authorized.

Some African international locations and conservation teams had hoped to ban the commerce in hippos. But it surely was opposed by the European Union, some African international locations and a number of other conservation teams, who argue many international locations have wholesome hippo populations and that commerce isn’t an element of their decline.

“Globally cherished mammals such as rhinos, hippos, elephants and leopards didn’t receive increased protections at this meeting while a bunch of wonderful weirdos won conservation victories,” Tanya Sanerib, worldwide authorized director on the Middle for Organic Variety, stated in a press release. “In the midst of a heart-wrenching extinction crisis, we need global agreement to fight for all species, even when it’s contentious.”

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