Thursday, 25 March 2010

CITES wrap-up

Well, the talking and voting are over, and as far as this meeting goes it was Doha equals No-ha.

Or at least it was for most of the high profile species - Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, elephants, sharks and corals.

The return, and subsequent reversal of the listing of Porbeagle at plenary was entirely predictable, but even so, it went down like the final slap in the face with a wet fish.

But amongst all the debris, there were a few successes, although you had to look fairly hard to spot them.

Probably the best was parties actually working together and committing to action to tackle the escalating rhino poaching, a renewed commitment to protect tigers and other Asian big cats from trade, and vows for action to protect the Humphead Wrasse, which has been having a very hard time in its coral reef haunts.

Enforcement efforts to tackle illegal trade also got a boost - with more resources committed and high level intergovernmental backing.

But after all the talk, lobbying, and sheer energy expended, you have to ask, were the gains really worth the effort expended? If all the resources poured into lobbying to make sure marine species weren't listed in the Convention were instead diverted to ways to support sustainable fisheries, the meeting could have made a real conservation impact. Instead, it's business as usual for most.

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