Observers drew parallels to the failed UN Climate meeting in Copenhagen and environmentalists declared the outcome a “tragedy of the oceans” as the CITES meeting in Doha ended with not one marine species proposed for protection being granted it.
Global conference to protect endangered species pronounced ‘disaster’ by conservation groups after aggressive lobbying.
This year at its meeting in Doha, everything changed. Seemingly alarmed by the large number of proposals to list marine species, Japan turned up in force. Japan’s 30-strong delegation was as big as the one from America. And thanks to its “capacity building” efforts—in other words, providing finance for projects in developing countries—Japan was also able to fly in a dozen or so fisheries ministers, mostly from Africa, to ensure their participation—and, no doubt, their votes.
For months preceding this week’s CITES meeting, the Japanese lobbied governments big and small. And the night before the vote at the 175-nation group, they rolled out their secret weapon.
Nationalism and politics conspire to keep Critically Endangered species a lucrative international food commodity.
At this point, conservationists stand a better chance of appealing to the general public, and especially well-heeled consumers, than to quasi-governmental agencies that are easily swayed by industry. People really do need to ask themselves whether sushi is worth the destruction of a species.
Shark fin soup: CITES fails to protect 5 species of sharks from overfishing and finning. By: John Platt
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) this week decided not to create any new international trade restrictions to protect five endangered shark species, all of which are highly prized for their use in the Chinese delicacy known as shark fin soup, or as I call it “extinction in a bowl.”
Delegates overturned the protection of the porbeagle shark, agreed earlier this week, and rejected protection measures for other shark species in the closing hours of the global summit on trade in endangered species in Doha.
Masanori Miyahara, chief counselor of the Fisheries Agency of Japan, acknowledged the government has funds that were aimed at helping developing countries build their fishing capacity. He said the funds were used by nations to attend CITES and other fisheries conferences — though he did not say how much or which countries benefited from the funds.
The same collapse that is being seen with tuna, is being seen with popular Indian fish like pomfret. Not only is the total catch collapsing, but as anyone who goes to markets knows, the average size of pomfret being sold has shrunk — exactly because, as with tuna, juveniles are being caught in small meshed modern nets, and the chance of pomfret stocks to rejuvenate and replenish is being destroyed. Yet the price of pomfret has never been higher in markets and restaurants, and the trade will not stop — until, as with bluefin, it will be too late.