Published 26th October 2018
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 26th October 2018—The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises 10 countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. All the ASEAN counties, except land-locked Lao PDR, are rich in marine biodiversity, with the waters around the southern Philippines and central Indonesia containing the highest levels of marine biodiversity in the world (Burke et al., 2011).
The waters in Southeast Asia are home to a large variety of marine wildlife species, many of which are under threat in the region, including from overexploitation, accidental capture, destructive fishing practices, and habitat loss and degradation. Each of the ASEAN countries has adopted international and regional treaties and agreements as part of its attempt to conserve and manage wildlife and marine resources, and has enacted legislation to govern international trade in wildlife, wildlife protection, protected areas, and fisheries management. However, the provisions, penalties and effectiveness of the legislation vary across the region.
This report considers legislation to conserve and manage marine species that are vulnerable to wildlife trade-related activities in ASEAN, up-to-date until December 2016. These include marine turtles, Dugong Dugong dugon, various species of cetaceans, sharks, rays Mobulidae spp., seahorses Hippocampus spp., sea cucumbers Holothuroidea spp., corals, Humphead Wrasse Cheilinus undulatus and giant clams Tridacnidae spp. A detailed list of species considered in this report can be found in Appendix I, along with their listings on the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and their assessment by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The first part of the report identifies global and regional treaties and conventions relevant to marine wildlife conservation in ASEAN and summarises the measures each country is obliged to take in order to uphold its international commitments. A table of obligations imposed on each country by the international agreements it has adopted can be found in Appendix II. The second part of the report provides information on legislation in each ASEAN country and evaluates the legislation against benchmarks drawn from the international commitments that are summarised in Part 1. Summaries of legislation in each country include information on conservation and management measures, measures to regulate marine wildlife collection and domestic and international trade, prohibited activities and penalties for infractions, licensing requirements for hunting, collection of eggs, and marine capture fisheries, enforcement powers, and agencies responsible for implementation. Strengths and weaknesses of each country’s legislation are identified in a separate section. The last two parts of the report discuss patterns in the strengths and weaknesses of the marine wildlife protection legislation across ASEAN and provide recommendations for improving this legislative framework.
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