Recently Japan announced that despite the decision to protect five shark species at CITES CoP16 meeting held in Bangkok this March, it is entering a “reservation” (i.e it will be ignoring the ruling) as it does not recognize the United Nations CITES as a body that should be managing species from the sea.
By Gary Stokes – Sea Shepherd Hong Kong
Last time I checked, an endangered species was an endangered species, regardless of where it lived, but Japan and several other rogue nations such as Singapore, believe that CITES should ‘not get involved’ and the management of our fisheries should be left to RFMO’s (Regional Fishery Management Organizations). The argument from most NGO’s and scientists is that if the RFMO’s were doing such a good job at managing their fisheries, the species would never need to be proposed to CITES for protection status.
I was at the CITES CoP16 meeting in Bangkok representing Sea Shepherd, and as I reported earlier I was astounded at the way business was being conducted by several member nations. When it comes to the global slaughter of sharks the spotlight always turns to China, the worlds largest consumers of the infamous Shark Fin Soup. However something didn’t quite add up whilst at CITES.
The Chinese delegation, whilst obviously against the shark proposals, was dignified and passive in their lobbying. They engaged in side meetings held by the anti-shark fin groups and raised some valid points. Japan on the other hand was frantically running about, doing deals with other countries to secure their vote of support, almost as if their lives depended on it. When the vote went against them, I was half expecting some of the delegates to fall onto their swords, but the noble samurai culture obviously didn’t extend to the Japanese CITES Delegation.