With proposals to protect Corals also failed, Willie from the UK oceans team looks at CITES so far...

CITES agreed to protect a salamander at the weekend. I'm very happy for the salamander. But in the great scheme of things this meeting is hardly turning out to be a ringing endorsement of global conservation in action.

We're still reeling from the disastrous result for Atlantic bluefin; heads are being scratched over the failure to be bothered about the polar bears; spiny dogfish are still being ruthlessly battered as we speak, and; in another resounding blow to effectiveness, the proposal to protect red and pink corals was also resoundingly ditched by our collective governments meeting in Doha yesterday.

There's a pattern here. The marine proposals that have failed have done so because of adverse socio-economic impacts, that seems to be the main argument. Just to clarify in my best irony - the representatives of our governments, discussing limits of trade in endangered species, are effectively rejecting the protection of the endangered species because it will adversely affect the people who make money from that trade.

You know, the people who are like, making them endangered.

So we should definitely be nice to those guys!

Corals are in big trouble the world over. From the coldwater corals of the North Atlantic at risk from destructive fishing, to the warm water corals of the tropics at risk from climate change, and the associated problems of ocean acidification and coral bleaching. Then there is the wanton destruction that happens by destructive fishing (using dynamite in some cases, yes, really), and collection for trade in souvenirs. But for red and pink corals, their real problem is that they are fashion victims. These precious corals are made into expensive jewellery and sold around the world. Even showy celebrities who should know better (I'm looking at you, Beyonce Knowles) are seen to flaunt gaudy coral necklaces. This of course makes them even more desirable for the masses - just like celebrities falling out of bluefin-peddlers Nobu makes their sushi seem glamorous. Indeed, a quick online search will no doubt turn up a plethora of options for any unscrupulous jewellery purchaser.

So, our governments in Doha have failed on the corals (just adding to that growing list). What that means for the rest of us is that more than ever we need to take action ourselves to help save these species. Crucially we have to reduce demand. If there is no demand for bluefin sushi, or coral necklaces, or dogfish and chips, then there won't be a trade in them. But as well as not buying them ourselves, we have to do what we can to make it unacceptable for anyone to be buying.

And for Beyonce, this is definitely one occasion where ‘if you like it, you shouldn't make a ring of it'.

PS - there are still some shark proposals up for discussion at CITES. Probably tomorrow. Don't hold your breath.

PPS - Here's Charles Clover on an Al Jazeera news programme talking about CITES and the need to protect endangered species like bluefin.