Wednesday, 17 March 2010

CITES falls at the first shark hurdle

A proposal to bring openness to the shark fin trade and implement measures to curb illegal practices in the industry, failed to win the vote yesterday. Lesley Rochat, in Doha reporting for South African media reported that the votes were "52 in favour, 36 against and 11 abstentions". There needs to be a two thirds majority for a vote to succeed, so 14 votes short of a victory.

The most blindingly stupid statment in the whole proceeding was that China and Russia stated that shark populations were not in any danger of decline. How can it be possible that the country fast becoming the world's leading industrial and commercial powerhouse, can make such a bold and ignorant statement in the face of so much scientific data for the contrary?

However, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel for us looking into this from a doom and gloom perspective. There was some opposition to the proposal based on the detail that if the proposal was adopted, that the governments of the nations would be responsible for the controls implemented. This would prove too costly for poor nations, burdening them with expensive enforcement requirments (AP)and it has been argued from some that the responsibility and costs should be met by regional regulatory bodies, those involved in shark protection measures.

We could look at it by saying that this is not within the remit of CITES. It was not a proposal on listing for the appendices, and to incur extra costs to poorer nations outside of this remit might not be the best way to proceed. The overriding concern is that this is a precursor for the more important votes on addition to the appendices for certain species, and that those too will fail. Let's hope that this will not be the case, and the vote will swing in favour of protection on that more specific agenda.

No comments: