An intense two-week meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has closed in Doha without agreeing on new trade measures to protect marine species. Over 150 governments voting at the meeting adopted, however, decisions to strengthen wildlife management for several reptiles, combat illegal trafficking in tigers and rhinos and update the trade rules for a wide range of plant and animal species. "The Doha conference is an important step in the long journey for the conservation of commercial marine species. The quality of the debate and the simple majority reached by three sharks and the red and pink coral proposals sends a strong signal to the international community on the urgent need to stop overexploitation. The results do not reflect well the real impact of this meeting, which will be only seen and understood when other international regimes discuss the fate of bluefin tuna and sharks in the coming months," said Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers of CITES, whose secretariat is administered by the UN Environment Programme. Four proposals to include sharks in CITES Appendix II were rejected. The scalloped hammerhead, Oceanic whitetip, porbeagle and spiny dogfish � four fish species of great commercial value � were not added to CITES and can therefore continue to be traded without CITES permits.


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