Monday, 8 March 2010

Media gears up

Things are really swinging into gear now with increasing levels of media interest in what promises to be a fascinating CITES meeting.

A joint WWF-TRAFFIC media phone conference held twice today - morning and evening for different time zones - attacted a good number of journalists and some interesting and challenging questions.

Not surprisingly, the media questions focused on some of the biggest isses coming up, with Bluefin Tuna probably the most talked about. Journalists asked about the possible impact of the proposed CITES Appendix I listing (in effect a ban on commercial international trade), relationships with ICCAT (the inter-governmental organisation responsible for management of this valuable fishery) and the positioning of EU governments and Japan in particular.

Elephants and ivory trade figured too. TRAFFIC's spokesperson on the calls noted concern that attention to the new requests from Tanzania and Zambia to be allowed to export legal government ivory stocks could well distract much-needed attention from the underlying problem of poorly regulated markets in specific countries that had long been identified as drivers of illegal trade.

Other questions focused on tiger farming, shark proposals and a report on the status of the world's rhinoceroses (co-written by TRAFFIC) that raised serious concern about an upsurge in poaching in Zimbabwe and South Africa and the role of Vietnamese nationals in related illegal trade.

If the media questioning today was anything to go by, at least we should get some good coverage of the deliberations in Doha and that this will have some positive impact on the decisions reached by governments at the meeting.

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