CITES COP12: Whales, Seahorses and Turtles
CITES Ocean Animals
In November 2002, member states of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) met in Santiago Chile for the twelvth conference of parties, also called COP12.
Proposals to change the trading status of elephants, whales, sea turtles, freshwater turtles, seahorses and sharks led the agenda.
Whales, always a contention topic, retained some of their protective status as proposals by Japan to downlist Bryde's and Minke whales from Appendix I to Appendix II, were voted down.
Seahorses in the genus Hippocampus received a boost as member states agreed to list them in Appendix II. Trade in Hippocampus species is now subject to permiting.
According to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the lead agency in the CITES conferences, The United States sponsored or cosponsored a variety of proposals supporting turtle conservation. The efforts were among the first of a decade long effort aimed at halting the continued decreases in global turtle populations.
The work continues. For example, a recent CITES report states,
"Tortoises and freshwater turtles have been an integral part of CITES from its very beginning: about 50 tortoise and freshwater turtle species were listed in the Appendices in 1975, all tortoises were included in Appendix II in 1977, and additional species were added over time, accelerating by 2000.
Currently, 139 tortoise and freshwater turtle species are included in Appendices I (20 species), II (89) and III (30).
Through listing proposals, inclusion in the Review of Significant Trade, and other developments, tortoises and freshwater turtles have become increasingly significant within CITES, and formulation and implementation of appropriate trade regulation has demanded significant resources from Party authorities, the Secretariat and others.
Annexes 3 and 4 provide overviews of developments concerning tortoises and freshwater turtles in CITES."
© 2011. Patricia A. Michaels.