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Wednesday
Feb282007

CITES: Provisional assessments welcomed

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Four of the listing proposals concern the African Elephant © Martin Harvey/WWF-CANON Click to enlarge
Cambridge, UK, 28 February 2007—TRAFFIC and WWF have welcomed the preliminary assessments of new proposals for amending wildlife trade rules announced today by the Secretariat of the Convention on the International Trade in Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).

The proposals will be discussed in detail and voted upon at the forthcoming meeting of CITES signatories (COP14) which takes place from 3–15 June in the Hague, Netherlands.

A species may be listed on one of three CITES Appendices which offer varying degrees of trade regulation. Listing proposals for discussion at COP14 range from mammals, such as African Elephant and Leopard, to commercially valuable marine species of sharks, eels and coral. A third of the animal species proposals put forward this year are marine species.

Germany, on behalf of the European Union, is proposing to list the Porbeagle Shark and Spiny Dogfish on Appendix II of CITES, meaning that trade in each is only allowed provided it is shown to be legal and sustainable. TRAFFIC and WWF believe the inclusion of both shark species on Appendix II would help improve fisheries management and halt their decline. Populations of each have dramatically declined in the North Atlantic: by up to 95 per cent for the Spiny Dogfish and 89 per cent for the Porbeagle, over the last 10 and 40 years respectively.

Several timber species from Latin America are also submitted for regulation by CITES. This highlights ongoing problems with managing forests sustainably.

Four of the listing proposals submitted concern the African Elephant, including a proposal from Tanzania to transfer its African Elephant population from Appendix I, which prohibits international commercial trade, to Appendix II, which allows for regulated trade.

TRAFFIC and WWF are considering the information in the elephant proposals, and awaiting additional information, including an analysis of the illegal ivory trade by TRAFFIC and an independent review of Tanzania’s proposal.

For a complete list of CoP14 proposals, please visit www.cites.org

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