Panama City: A wildlife conference brought about some of the most substantial protections for shark species targeted for the fin trade, as well as numerous turtle, lizard, and amphibian species whose populations are being wiped out by the pet trade.
The CITES convention, which stands for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, concluded on Friday in Panama. Delegates passed legislation protecting more than 500 species, a record for the conference. The UN conference on wildlife also defeated a plan to resume the ivory trade. In 1989, a ban on ivory was passed.
Ivonne Higuero, the secretary-general of CITES, stated, “The Parties to CITES are well conscious of their responsibilities to address the biodiversity loss issue by making efforts to ensure that the international wildlife trade is sustainable, legal, and traceable.”
Trade is essential to human well-being, but she said we must also repair our relationship with the environment. The decisions made at this summit will advance wildlife commerce and conservation efforts without endangering future generations’ access to wild species of plants and animals.
The international wildlife trade treaty, passed in Washington, D.C., 49 years ago, has received accolades for halting the unsustainable and illegal trade in whale and sea turtle products and ivory and rhino horn.
However, it has drawn criticism for its flaws, particularly its reliance on cash-strapped developing nations to fight illegal commerce, which has grown to be a $10 billion-a-year industry.
Protecting more than 90 shark species, including three hammerhead shark species, the bonnethead shark, 54 species of requiem sharks, and 37 species of guitarfish, was one of this year’s greatest accomplishments. Many people had never before had trade protection, and now commercial commerce will be regulated by Appendix II.
Shark populations worldwide are declining, with 100 million sharks dying yearly from fishing-related causes. The main reason why sharks are hunted is for their fins, which are used to make shark fin soup, a popular dish in China and other parts of Asia.
Rebecca Regnery, senior director for wildlife at Humane Society Worldwide, states, “These species are threatened by the unsustainable and uncontrolled fisheries that supply the international trade in their meat and fins, which has driven severe population decreases.” “With the species listed on Appendix II, CITES Parties can only permit commerce provided it does not threaten the species survival in the wild, providing these species with the support they need to recover from over-exploitation.”