BANGKOK, Oct. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- Thailand has refused to support a proposal at
the ongoing CITES meeting to strict the trade in greatwhite sharks due to
concern over the possible adverse effect on its shark fin industry, local press
reported here on Thursday.
Strengthening shark conservation regulations would adversely affect
Thailand's shark fin trade, Department of Fisheries deputy director-general
Jaranthada Karnasuta was quoted by the Bangkok Post newspaper as saying.
He added Thailand is a shark fin-consuming country, and tightening shark
conservation regulation could obstruct the fisheries industry.
The proposal, raised by Australia and Madagascar to list the great white
shark on Appendix II of CITES, is scheduled to be discussed and voted on next
Species covered by the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are divided into
three categories based on the degree of protection they need.
Jaranthada said Bangkok would abstain or vote against the transfer of the great
white shark from appendix III to appendix II,under which international trade
in listed species must be strictly controlled.
Undoubtedly, the decision has drawn opposition and criticism from
international and Thai conservation groups.
"Thailand's reputation on wildlife protection will be damaged if the government
stands on such a pro-consumption position," said Ichthyologist
Chavalit Vithayanon, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Thailand.
He also lashed out the fisheries department for being too concerned with
the economic side of the wildlife trade.
Carroll Muffett, director of US-based Defenders of Wildlife's International Program,
said the population of sharks is in declineas they are hunted for international
trade. He urged the government to reverse its position and support the
conservation of endangered sharks.
Also on Wednesday, another proposal was tabled calling for moreprotection
to Asian turtles.
China, one of the largest consumers of turtles, revealed that it was trying
to raising public awareness of the importance of wildlife protection in a bid to
save the species from extinction.
"We have campaigns not only for turtles, but all protected wildlife," said
Fan Zhiyong, director of China's fauna division ofCITES Management Authority.
Now it is not easy to find wildlife products in Chinese market as it was
several years ago, he added.
In 1999, law enforcement officials and experts in many Asian countries have
jointly conducted a survey on Asian turtles.
They found that there were about 90 species of turtles, however,half of
them were facing extinction, said tortoise and freshwater turtle specialist
Peter Paul van Dijk, deputy chairmen of the World Conservation Union's Species
Indonesia and the United States meanwhile are calling for five species of
Asian freshwater turtles to be put on the internationaltrade control list of
Entering into force in 1975, the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild fauna and Flora (CITES) is regarded as one of the
most effective of all international wildlife conservation treaties.
The first to be held in Southeast Asia, the 13th
Meeting of theConference of the Parties to CITES will see debate leading up to
decisions on about 50 proposals for amendments to the existing CITES