FACTBOX - Trade decisions by U.N. wildlife talks


  • World
  • Thursday, 25 Mar 2010

REUTERS - Following are major decisions at a conference of the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Doha from March 13-25.

Many proposals to step up protection for commercial species failed to win support, with many delegates saying economic interests won over long-term conservation.

MARINE SPECIES

BLUEFIN TUNA - Delegates rejected a proposal, backed by the United States and the European Union, to ban trade in bluefin tuna that is prized as sushi in Japan. Stocks have fallen by more than 80 percent in the main fishing grounds in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean since the 1970s, CITES says. Japan says poorly regulated fishin, not trade, is the main threat. A single fish can sell for more than $100,000 in Tokyo.

SHARKS - Proposals to step up protection for eight types of shark -- at risk from rising demand for shark fin soup in Asia -- were voted down. The oceanic whitetip, scalloped hammerhead, great, smooth and dusky hammerhead, sandbar and spiny dogfish sharks failed to win extra protection. A vote to set trade limits on the porbeagle shark was overturned on the final day.

RED AND PINK CORALS - The conference rejected a proposal to restrict trade in 31 species of red and pink corals used in jewellery. Catches have fallen to about 50 tonnes a year in the main coral grounds in the Pacific and the Mediterranean from 450 in the mid-1980s. The proposal would have made exporters ensure that harvests were sustainable.

MAMMALS

POLAR BEARS - A U.S. proposal to ban trade in polar bears, mainly from Canada which exported about 300 a year from 2004-08 as rugs or trophies, was rejected. Washington argues that climate change will melt the bears' icy Arctic habitat. But even some environmentalists opposed the U.S. plan, saying trade was a distraction and that the focus should be on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

RHINOS - Kenya scored a victory with a proposal to combat the escalation of rhino poaching by placing rhinos on a protective list.

ELEPHANTS - The conference voted against calls by Zambia and Tanzania to relax a trade ban on their elephants that could allow a sale of their stockpiled ivory. The two countries say elephant numbers have risen in their countries and are a threat to people in rural areas.

OTHER

HOLYWOOD, BRAZILIAN ROSEWOOD - Delegates immposed trade controls on the two trees used in the cosmetics industry after decades of over-harvesting. The Holywood, found in South America, is used for products ranging from flooring to perfumes. Oils from the Brazilian rosewood are used as fragrance in perfumes.

KAISER'S SPOTTED NEWT - The conference approved a trade ban on Kaiser's spotted newt, a type of salamander from Iran. The newt is under threat from trade agreed over the Internet by collectors.

(Compiled by Alister Doyle in Oslo, editing by Noah Barkin)

For Reuters latest environment blogs, click on: http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/

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