Illegal animal trade?

The CITES Convention 2013 is currently underway; the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties is taking place in Bangkok, Thailand. Hot topics so far have included overfishing of sharks, elephants in the ivory trade, and polar bear slaughter. 

By Frank G. and Frances Carpenter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Frank G. and Frances Carpenter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

CITES, (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments, where laws on trade – legal and illegal – are discussed, agreed, and consequently implemented via amendments of laws at national level, specific to each party. Each member must ensure that CITES is adopted in their country as part of the agreement.

This morning (their evening) was the debate on protecting sharks and manta ray species under Appendix II, which would prevent the trade of specimens over international boundaries. Each debate takes views from participating party members (national delegates), and hears thoughts from conservation and environmental organisations. For example, this morning heard from the FAO, Convention for Migratory Species (CMS), and Divers For Sharks on the protection of Manta Rays under Appendix II.

By Moesmand (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Moesmand (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

The FAO noticed problems for the conservation of manta species, including low productivity, seasonal aggregations, and lack of regional as well as national governmental legislative enforcement. Diving organisation Divers For Sharks followed up by stating that that we need to act urgently; placing mantas under protection would ensure that livelihoods of divers, communities, and tourism in the community would be hugely supported by the presence of the iconic manta ray. Finally, the votes were cast and the results were drawn in at 80.67% agree, 19.33% disagree, and 7% abstained; all that was needed was 2/3 adoption by the majority.

Listen live here until the 14th March to hear debates about protecting the world’s most vulnerable species, straight from the CITES convention in Bangkok.

Click here to read more about shark attacks in the news.