Creating free trade zones has become a hot topic in South America, but this week trade of another kind was on the minds of many in Santiago as world governments met to discuss the international trade in threatened and endangered species.
Common dolphin, Mediterranean.
The suits and skirts walked away from the meeting with what must
have been a warm feeling in their hearts after agreeing to regulate
trade to protect mahogany, sharks, sea horses and dolphins. In
addition, they resisted moves to reopen the trade in whale
It was a historic victory for the Amazon rainforest when
delegates to the Conventional on International Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES) voted in favour of a proposal that would lead to
controlled, sustainable trade in Big Leaf Mahogany. Similar
proposals had been submitted for the last 10 years and this year a
proposal from Nicaragua and Guatemala was finally accepted. The
protection of mahogany will have massive implications for the
protection of the Amazon and forests in Latin America. Similar
action is now required on threatened tree species in other parts of
Tim Birch attended the entire meeting for Greenpeace and
believes that significant progress has been made at this meeting to
protect some of the world's most threatened species. "While many of
the world's threatened plants and animals continue to be put under
pressure by the demands of international trade, in particular
marine life we hope that this meeting marks a turning point getting
governments to act responsibly and take action to protect species
threatened by the global economy."
At last CITES countries have realised that ocean resources are
not infinite and are being seriously impacted by commercial
However, many countries, including Japan, Russia, Norway, China
and Iceland strongly opposed any attempt for CITES to protect
Toothfish (Chilean Sea Bass) under threat by large-scale poaching
in the Southern ocean around Antarctica. Illegal fishing of
Toothfish is also threatening many species of Albatross with
extinction as these sea birds get trapped in the longlines of
We are looking forward to seeing the Toothfish get protected at
the next CITES meeting says Desley Mather, Greenpeace oceans
campaigner from the meeting.
"Marine species are under enormous strain and clearly need
protection from the pressures of international fish trade.
Unfortunately, many governments are all too willing to regulate but
only in favour of the powerful fishing lobby's short term
interests," said Desley.
CITES was established to regulate and control international
trade in wildlife species. It provides three regulatory options in
the form of Appendices. Animals and plants listed under Appendix I
are excluded from international commercial trade except in very
special circumstances. Commercial trade is permitted for species
listed under Appendix II but it is strictly controlled based on
CITES permits or certificates. Appendix II includes species that
are protected within the borders of a member country.