A near-total ban on trade in Bluefin Tuna, restriction on the commercial trade of wild falcons and Agarwood; are among other major issues to be discussed at the forthcoming Doha Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Ahead of the March 2010 Doha summit, the European Commission has reportedly drawn up a proposal for listing Atlantic bluefin tuna as an endangered species under the international wildlife convention. The European Commissions’ environment department wants to fix a common European Union position ahead of the Doha summit. France, Germany and the UK have already come out in favour of listing tuna under annexe 1 of CITES, the strongest possible protection and the most restrictive on trade.
International science journals report that the draft document has expressed serious worries over the fast declining of Bluefin stocks, especially after 1960s, driven by soaring demand for sushi and the tuna steaks from consumers in Europe and Japan.
The commercial trade of wild falcons, especially the ‘endangered’ Saqr falcon species (Falco cherrug) and the high-volume imports of Agarwoods, popularly known as Oudh, to the Arab countries are another twin issues to emerge as regional topics of discussion at the conclave.
The CITES observes that there is a drastic decline in the total number of Saqr Falcons due to commercial trade. Though Qatar and UAE have introduced some mechanism to check the trade, a large number of Saqr Falcons are being imported to the region annually. Despite the international agency introducing strict regulations on the commercial trade of wild falcons, according to CITES’s latest assessment, between 6,500 to 8,000 Saqr Falcons are being trapped annually for the Middle East. The birds are being brought to the Gulf region from Iran, Pakistan, China, Mangolia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria and Libya.
The meet would discuss the formation of an Arab regional network for enforcing CITES recommendations. It would also explore the possibilities of a joint Arab police and Customs Control Committee to check the illegal trade of fauna and flora.