CITES Animal Committee turning its attention to e-commerce

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The CITES Animal Committee, currently in session at the 26th annual meeting of the committee in Geneva, Switzerland, will address a number of agenda items, including  “sharks,  . . .  corals, and listing criteria for commercially exploited aquatic species.”   In connection with that meeting, it is apparent that the committee is considering the impact of e-commerce on CITES listed species.   Today the CITES Secretariat reminded parties of its previous requests for information and research regarding “correlations between use of the Internet and the rate of wildlife crime,”  “the extent of and trends in commerce of CITES-listed species,” and “analysis on any changes in trade routes and methods of shipment that have been observed as a result of increased use of the Internet to promote trade in wildlife.”  That notification can be found here. read more

Palau’s shark refuge

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Palau, an island nation located 500 miles east of the Philippines, created shark sanctuary in 2001.  According to a recent article in the Fiji Times, the country has stepped up its enforcement, has recently fined the operators of a Taiwanese-flagged vessel caught shark fishing in the preserve, and has banned the captain for one year. This has given hope to those seeking to establish a similar reserve in Fiji.   Fiji’s Ministry of Fisheries, with help from the Coral Reef Alliance and the Pew Environment Group, is working on legislation to turn Fiji’s waters into a shark sanctuary. read more

Plastic Oceans

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 As we focus on issues such as overfishing and climate change, the issue of the enormous amount of plastics in the ocean often goes overlooked.  However, according to the Plastic Oceans Foundation: 1.         Over 250 species have been known to have ingested or become entangled in plastic Entanglement rates of up to 7.9% have been discovered in some species of seals and sea lions. A UNEP report estimates that around 130,000 cetaceans are caught in nets each year (US EPA, 1992).  31 species of marine mammals are known to have ingested marine plastic. read more

Cabo Pulmo, Baja, Mexico: world’s most robust marine reserve?

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Cabo Pulmo, a protected marine reserve on the southeastern tip of the Baja Peninsula, is the location of the oldest of only three coral reefs on the west coast of North America. The reef, estimated to be 20,000 years old, is the northernmost coral reef in the eastern Pacific. About six months ago, Scripps Institute of Oceanography called Cabo Pulmo the “World’s Most Robust Marine Reserve,” citing a journal article authored by Scripps biologists and others that determined that the biomass (at least fish biomass) increased 460 percent between 1999 and 2009.  The reserve’s no-take restrictions were implemented in 1995 and have received strong local support and enforcement. read more