This menu organises news, documents, projects, profiles and links into key topics, and the menu along the top divides the contents of the site by type.
Bycatch / discards
Chain of custody / Supply chain management
Corruption / mismanagement
Flag state issues
Governance / management
International trade / WTO
Monitoring, control and surveillance
Port state issues
Retail / consumers
18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Dont pig out on perlemoen, Chinese told
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, has called on Chinese New Year festinos to avoid South African perlemoen.
Following hard on the announcement last week of perlemoens new international endangered species trade listing, the call has been welcomed in Port Elizabeth the epicentre of the poaching stripping South Africas eastern and southern Cape coasts.
TRAFFICs Hong Kong office said it recognised that perlemoen was a much sought-after delicacy in East Asia, especially over the Chinese New Year.
But perlemoen stocks have plummeted in South Africa. Almost all the perlemoen harvested there is exported to East Asia, with Hong Kong the major importer.
Perlemoen could fetch prices of up to R7 000 a kilogramme during Chinese New Year, TRAFFIC East Asia programme officer Caroline Lam said.
Continued illegal harvesting and trade could have a severe impact on the survival of this species and could result in the closure of legal fisheries and the loss of hundreds of jobs.
While South Africa was witnessing the worst poaching and smuggling threat globally to its perlemoen, other countries were facing similar, if less overwhelming challenges, she noted.
If you are going to buy perlemoen, buy carefully. Ask your supplier if his stock has been legally obtained.
Initiating the Year of the Pig on the Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year 2007 is due to start on February 18, and to last until the next new moon, 15 days thereafter. Traditionally a celebration of family and ancestors, it includes lantern parades, communal weilu around the stove feasting and elaborate banquets.
The call from TRAFFIC East Asia follows the breakthrough news last week that South Africas perlemoen has been listed for the first time in terms of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The listing will boost South Africas efforts to stop illegal exports, by compelling CITES members like Hong Kong to ensure that imports of wildlife have been legally harvested.
While recognising the tradition of Chinese New Year, TRAFFIC East Asia argues that by avoiding or carefully sourcing endangered species you can avoid having a detrimental impact on the planets natural resources and a guilt-free Year of the Pig.
Besides perlemoen, it pinpoints sharks fin, which is made into a much-prized soup. But tens of millions of sharks are killed each year through by-catch or direct catch for fins and meat: The international trade in shark fins, with the centre in Hong Kong, is placing severe pressures on slow-growing shark populations. If fishing continues unchecked, scientists fear shark populations will decline past critical thresholds.
The organisation also spotlights sea cucumber. Driven by the demand, particularly from the East, uncontrolled trade has wrecked the fishery on Ecuadors mainland coast and pushed it into the ecologically sensitive Galapagos Islands.
The organisation has called on festinos to avoid altogether buying facai moss, which is eaten in the belief that it will increase consumers wealth. Nearly two hectares of grassland are damaged for each 450g harvested, causing wide-spread erosion.
Tonics containing parts of endangered species like wild ginseng, Asian freshwater turtles, seahorses, saiga antelope, pangolins, geckos and tigers are often consumed for Chinese New Year.
But they should only be bought after legal harvest has been confirmed, TRAFFIC says.
Bayworld marine biologist and shark specialist Dr Malcolm Smale said the call from TRAFFIC around Chinese New Year was welcome as an educative approach to solving the crisis around endangered marine species trade.
If we can put it together with legislation like the Cites breakthrough last week and more hands-on policing, maybe we can stop the rot.
Until five years ago, South Africas shark stocks had faced relatively little pressure. But economic factors and an insatiable demand from the East, the same factors driving the perlemoen trade, had seen an upsurge in shark-fin trade in the last five years, he said.
click to view source website
Issues/International trade / WTO