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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
UNEP, CITES launch database to track caviar trade
Nairobi, Kenya - In an effort to better monitor the origin of caviar in international markets and tackle illegal catch and trade, the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have launched a computerized database that will track shipments of caviar around the world.
The database, according to a statement Monday from the UN environmental management and conservation body, will record details of all permits and certificates that authorize trade in caviar.
It will also help detect and deter fraudulent applications to trade in caviar, and at the same time enable national CITES authorities to check the history of caviar shipments to confirm that their original export was lawful, and the quantities and caviar types that were authorized for trade.
The database is funded by the European Commission and developed and maintained by UNEPs World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) at its offices in Cambridge, UK, on behalf of the CITES Secretariat.
Secretary-General of CITES, Willem Wijnstekers, welcomes the introduction of the database, describing it as "an important tool in our battle to save sturgeons and fight criminals who seek to over-exploit a number of species of gr eat conservation concern.
"Sturgeons have existed since prehistoric times and we all need to ensure that the demand for the luxury product of caviar does not threaten their survival in the wild. I encourage all caviar trading countries to make full use of the data base," he added.
He explained that in the past, considerable laundering of illegal-origin caviar occurred when unscrupulous traders obtained genuine CITES documents by making false statements about where the caviar had been obtained.
Wijnstekers was optimistic that the new database would now assist authorities identify when such fraudulent applications are made.
"This initiative backs up a labelling system that requires all containers of caviar to have a label with details of its origin and production" he explained.
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Issues/International trade / WTO