Endangered Ocean Species Won't Get International Trade Protection

U.N. delegates from around the world gathered at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) in Qatar this week- their mission? To vote on international regulations governing the trade in endangered species. For the urban layman, their decisions affect how much tuna we can have for sushi or how many shark-fins are allowed in the market. There were four proposals to tightly regulate, rather than ban, trade in several endangered marine species. Somehow, three of the four proposals were rejected. Bans on bluefin tuna trade and regulations on coral were also defeated.

Photo Credit: brotherM Spiny Dogfin Sharks are among the endangered species who will not receive international trade protection
Spiny Dogfin Sharks are among the endangered species who will not receive international trade protection

At first glance the decisions seem easy- regulating the international trade of already endangered species sounds good for everyone- it would facilitate the survival of both the species and the industry around it. But like the Once-ler and the Truffula Trees, the ocean’s fishing industry is not so keen to reduce consumption.

There is some debate as to whether the issues are trade or fisheries enforcement issues, but the structure of the treaty behind the conference sets it up for failure as well. One obstacle is that there are many countries, including China and Japan, who don’t want international authorities involved in regulating fishing in the ocean. Second, all votes are by secret ballot so no one need take a public stand. Third, the treaty requires that two-thirds of the delegates approve a proposal for it to pass.

Proposals to protect calloped hammerhead, oceanic whitetip and spiny dogfish sharks through internationally regulated trade were rejected. The hammerhead and whitetip proposals had majority backing but failed to get the two-thirds vote. A fourth proposal to protect porbeagle sharks passed 86 to 42 (8 abstentions).

β€œWe will continue to pursue our efforts to protect sharks from eradication by the decadent and cruel process of shark-finning. I am sure that, properly prepared, bald eagle is delicious. But, as civilized people, we simply do not eat it.” — Stuart Beck, Palau’s ambassador to the United Nations

Written by Scott James


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  1. I was thinking of something today that might help bring attention to the ocean species that I don’t have time, resouces, or the right connections and I thought the idea might help jump a wonderful idea.
    It would be a facility,say like: Sea Life Metric to get ideas rolling or just put a name on the evolved idea, that measures the amount of sea life by measuring the count of fishing.The information could be measured by and idea like the endangered spiecies society does or by them to make sure sealife isn’t over fished and more than that. Having a lot of advancements in society today, I think the ideas could be added to I was thinking over and made presentable by someone who understand this topic better so it is intriging to a more intelligent mind in that field. maybe a coorperation might even look at the worked on idea. We all know it would help shortages in food, but by not killing off to much of the natural habitat ,and help other abundant life like krill thrive better. By supporting the marine ecosystem in a better balance ,to measures known in Oceanography, it would help the eco system again establish over a long while also helping feed more people. While ensuring there’d be no shortage or drastic change. Ocean life like coral helps the atmosphere, there progress would begin to better the atmosphere. Maybe helping the science develop in that field. Which later helps the land animals, soil, maybe global warming and other things to that effect. Better than nothing being being done at the same time. As feeding and slowing down a problem that deals with trading while increasing oppurtunities. An idea the US governement might not turn down with more expert opinion added. The facility would create more jobs, and an easy science to moveforward into. And create an idea other countries would be interested in just to feed and make sure they had higher quality food, maybe even a possibility for a new type of job and there own better ideas to improve there country for a fast knowledgable growing population probably such as ours. While using the measures of marine life to ensure water standards by taking out enough to feed the bought and paid standard a little more in a year (something probably to be looked at) that would work in America. The project could later be designed to cooperate with other countries with out obstrucing religous and government policies. The element tables could be used to decide a more correct balances and understand how life might work better. When the idea was later brought to other countries attention, when put together by the US could with the needed information and correct litigation, that could give statistics that worked with the policiy here and in the other country(s), creating a world balance that works for everyone. By just taking on the countries that feel the idea would best benefit them by the project,making a slow progression untill other countries could be interested in the benefit profiting them. Starting with SSea and Ocean bearing countries. Later the idea of not transforming other countries could evovle in a better world peace that wouldn’t effect travel rates and other current rise and falls thataffect stock. The Element tables might evovle new ideas that are more ecofriendly and energy efficient to the math and statitics needed and more Earth/Ocean science balance statisctics, that a mathmatician could check the work.The process could take on a whole other needed value by restoring other over used elments, like oil, by saving natural resources more efficiently and making it more able to look at other possible energy resources or/and by creating new possibilities, at a faster rate increasing ingenuity. By over thinking how the facility does and doesn’t effect currency rate or use unneedeed cash before the project was established etc.(business), and the amount was more reasonable than the cause and affect and some proven effect. The project seems it would take off if other people added there own input and professinal opinion in small pieces apart. Earth Science is the only thing that comes to mind so I’d like to get the idea to someone that could help evolve it.
    Thank you for your time.
    Laura Piquette

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