Wildlife conference strengthens protection for sharks and turtles

PANAMA CITY – An international wildlife conference has decided to enact some of the key conservation measures for shark species used in the fin trade dozens of turtles, lizards and frogs, whose numbers are being decimated by the pet trade.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known by its initials as CITES, ended in Panama on Friday. Along with protecting over 500 species, delegates at the United Nations Conference on Wildlife rejected a proposal reopen the ivory trade. An ivory ban was enacted in 1989.

“Good news from CITES is good news for wildlife, as this agreement is one of the pillars of international conservation and is essential to ensure countries pull together in tackling the global, interconnected crises of biodiversity collapse, climate change and… of the pandemics,” said Susan Lieberman, vice president of international policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“Many of the proposals adopted here reflect ongoing overfishing and unsustainable trade and the escalation of illicit trade, and some are a result of complex interactions of other threats reducing species populations in the wild, including climate change, disease, infrastructure development and habitat loss.” , added her.

That International Convention on Trade in Wild AnimalsAdopted 49 years ago in Washington, DC, it was hailed for helping stem the illegal and unsustainable trade in ivory and rhino horn, as well as whales and sea turtles.

But it has come under fire for its borders, including its reliance on cash-strapped developing countries to combat the illicit trade that has become a lucrative $10 billion business.

One of the biggest achievements this year was the raising or protection of more than 90 species of sharks, including 54 species of squirrel shark, the crested shark, three species of hammerhead shark and 37 species of guitarfish. Many have never had trade protection and now commercial trade is regulated under Schedule II.

Global shark populations are declining, with annual deaths from fishing reaching approximately 100 million. The sharks are sought after primarily for their fins, which are used in shark fin soup, a popular delicacy in China and elsewhere in Asia.

“These species are threatened by the unsustainable and unregulated fisheries that supply international trade in their meat and fins, which has led to widespread population declines,” said Rebecca Regnery, senior director of wildlife at Humane Society International, in a statement . “With Appendix II listing, CITES Parties can allow trade only if it does not affect the survival of species in the wild and helps those species recover from over-exploitation.”

The conference also enacted safeguards for Dozens of species of turtles, lizards and frogs including glass frogs, whose translucent skin made them a favorite in the pet trade. Several species of songbirds also received trade protection.

“The uncontrolled and growing trade in glass frogs is already under tremendous ecological pressures from habitat loss, climate change and disease, compounding already existing threats to the species,” said Danielle Kessler, the U.S. country director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. said in a statement: “This trade needs to be regulated and limited to sustainable levels to avoid adding to the multiple threats they already face.”

However, some of the more controversial proposals were not approved.

Some African countries and conservation groups had hoped to ban the hippo trade. But it has been opposed by the European Union, some African countries and several conservation groups, who argue many countries have healthy hippo populations and that trade is not a factor in their decline.

“Globally valued mammals like rhinos, hippos, elephants and leopards didn’t get increased protections at this gathering, while a bunch of wonderful weirdos clinched conservation victories,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “In the midst of a heartbreaking extinction crisis, we need a global agreement to fight for all species, even if it’s controversial.”

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https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/11/26/wildlife-conference-boosts-protection-for-sharks-turtles/ Wildlife conference strengthens protection for sharks and turtles

Sarah Y. Kim

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