The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is currently being held in Bangkok, Thailand until March 14th. CITES is dedicated to ensuring species survival and sustainable practices. The current meeting is leading to several positive regulations for wildlife. I have two articles below that go into detail about what CITES is doing, and how it will impact wildlife.
CITES voted to protect five species of shark in an effort to offset the increasing demands for shark meat. The regulation that will be imposed means shark meat can only be sold if the trade is certified as sustainable. Shark slaughtering has gone up to 100 million sharks per year. Although the new regulation is great progress, countries will be given 18 months to implement new trade edicts. Hopefully, sharks can manage reasonably well for another year and a half.
The illegal logging of rosewood and ebony trees got some attention by CITES. Both exporters and importers of rosewood will now have to have a valid permit. The main threat for these trees is China’s middle class and the pressures to own luxury furniture. Restrictions will also force exporting countries to ensure the number of trees being cut down is not detrimental to the survival of the species. Additionally, CITES is now able to “impose trade sanctions on any country that over-exports a restricted species.”
I’m excited to hear about the progress CITES is making. I think the changes will be enforced relatively quickly. I thought this part from the second article comparing the ebony and ivory trades was interesting, “Campaigners welcomed the move, saying it stood in marked contrast to the slow pace of progress in tackling the ivory poaching crisis.” I know the illegal ivory trade is a top priority for many countries, but I like that some regulations can get an immediate response. I’m just sad to hear it has come to that. I know how critical dealing with ivory trading is, so I can only imagine how desperate the need to protect these trees is.