Wednesday, 31 March 2010

USA: Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act Information

On March 5, 2010, NOAA Fisheries published a notice in the Federal
Register soliciting information from the public regarding nations whose
vessels are engaged in illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU) fishing
and bycatch of protected living marine resources (PLMRs). A copy of the
notice is attached.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Time for closer collaboration on wildlife trade

Doha, Qatar, Thursday 25 March 2010 (IUCN) – It’s time for joint action and for regulatory bodies to work together to ensure the continued survival of species threatened by wildlife trade, says IUCN at the end of the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP15) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in Doha, Qatar.

“CITES CoP15 has highlighted the challenges facing this convention as one of the many existing agreements for managing commercially important species sustainably,” says Sue Mainka, Head of IUCN’s delegation to CITES. “However, the decisions taken at CoP15 should stimulate further evolution of CITES including development of tools and mechanisms needed to support efforts to achieve sustainable management of natural resources. Those resources are fundamental elements of our economy and people’s livelihoods.”

IUCN provides scientific and technical information to CITES, which offers varying degrees of protection to more than 33,000 species of animals and plants in trade, through a system of regulations, permits and certificates. Species are included in one of three lists, called Appendices.

Trade regulation for bluefin tuna, sharks, polar bears and coral have all been under discussion in Doha. In addition to decisions taken regarding which species would be included within the CITES mandate, decisions were taken regarding implementation of the Convention for species already on CITES Appendices. Enhanced efforts to battle increased poaching and illegal trade in rhinos and to improve the often overlooked trade in turtles, snakes and other reptiles were important success stories from this meeting. Marine species affected by illegal, unmanaged and unreported fishing, such as the humphead wrasse, as well as bycatch, also had a more prominent role in CITES than at previous meetings.

During the conference, IUCN urged a more holistic approach to elephant conservation, urging Parties to rise above divisive issues raised at this meeting in favour of more decisive action on the known problems facing African elephants in many parts of their range including decreasing habitat as a result of the needs of growing human populations and managing human-elephant conflict. How trade in endangered species effects people’s livelihoods has been at the heart of discussions here in Doha.

“CITES wasn’t initially designed to manage commercial marine species ,” says Simon Stuart, chair of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission. “However, on a regional level the pressure to list commercially valuable marine species on CITES is growing.

“Now the world is watching to see if regional fisheries management bodies will follow scientific advice and set fishing quotas at sustainable levels, as they have committed to. If they don’t, we can be sure that marine species will be back on the agenda at the next CITES meeting.”

”CoP15 may be viewed by some as economic interests trumping environmental ones. However, it must also be said that Parties chose to discontinue work on economic incentives for CITES,” adds Mainka. “In doing so, they may be overlooking important opportunities in support of conserving species in trade.”

The number of commercially important species on CITES Conference agendas has been steadily increasing and there is no indication that this trend will change. Before the next conference in 2013 in Thailand, CITES has a huge challenge to meet in specifically addressing the key challenges and gaps identified at this conference so that discussions at CoP16 can truly support sustainable trade in all wild species..

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Only one in four shark proposals adopted at CITES

Doha, Qatar, 23 March, 2010 (IUCN). Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted in favour of only one of four proposals to list shark species under CITES Appendix II, which requires international trade to be monitored and regulated.

A European Union proposal to list the porbeagle shark – a close relative of the great white shark – on Appendix II was adopted by a 67 per cent majority with 86 Parties in favour and 42 opposed. Proposals to list hammerhead, oceanic whitetip, and spiny dogfish sharks failed to achieve the required two-thirds majority of votes.

“The porbeagle shark is in demand for its high value meat, which is particularly popular in Europe - both meat and fins are traded internationally,” says Sonja Fordham, Deputy Chair of IUCN/SSC Shark Specialist Group. “Fisheries statistics and stock assessments show marked declines or complete population collapses in all areas where the data is available.”

Unsustainable fishing and population collapses of porbeagle are particularly well documented for the North Atlantic. Declining population trends have also been demonstrated for the Southern hemisphere.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ classifies the Porbeagle Shark as Vulnerable globally, Critically Endangered in the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, Endangered in the Northwest Atlantic and Near Threatened in the Southern Ocean.

“All of the shark species proposed for listing at this Conference are exceptionally vulnerable to overexploitation due to life history characteristics - such as slow growth, late maturity, and small number of young - and yet are subject to few fishing restrictions,” adds Fordham.

Analyses by IUCN and TRAFFIC concluded that all of the shark species proposed for listing at this Conference of the Parties meet the criteria for listing under Appendix II.

The Conference of the Parties concludes on Thursday. Decisions made in Committee can be revisited during the final Plenary sessions.

The proposals for porbeagle and spiny dogfish shark were developed by the EU while the hammerhead and oceanic whitetip shark proposals were offered by the US. Palau co-sponsored both proposals.

The IUCN/SSC Shark Specialist Group has held 13 regional and thematic workshops around the world in order to assess the threat status of more than 1,000 sharks and their relatives using the IUCN Red List Criteria and Categories.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

World Conference on Marine Biodiversity coming to Scotland from 26-30 September 2011

The University of Aberdeen, in partnership with the University of St Andrews, is delighted to be bringing the World Conference on Marine Biodiversity to Scotland from 26-30 September 2011.

The conference will provide the premier platform for discussion, dissemination, policy analysis and development of the key issues surrounding marine biodiversity, as well as providing an opportunity for the marine community to further influence the key thinkers and policy makers worldwide.


CITES Considers Protection for Marine Species

Red and pink corals, the Atlantic bluefin tuna, the polar bear and several shark species are being considered for increased protection when the 15th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) convenes in Doha, Qatar, from March 13 to 25...writes Oceana.

Sweden (on behalf of the European Union) and the United States have proposed that all species of red and pink corals, or Coralliidae, be listed under Appendix II of the convention. That move would ensure that any future trade in those species would be strictly monitored and controlled.

Pink and red corals are deep-sea precious corals found in the Mediterranean and Pacific. Between 30 and 50 metric tons are fished annually to meet consumer demand for jewelry and decorative items. The United States alone imported 28 million pieces of red and pink coral between 2001 and 2008. Necklaces made from the smoothed and polished skeletons of red or pink coral colonies can fetch up to US$25,000.


New online training course for reef managers now available

The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with NOAA and with support from the MacArthur Foundation, is offering a new virtual training program on Reef Resilience to provide coral reef managers, trainers, and policymakersguidance on building resilience to climate change into the design of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and daily management activities.

The course incorporates the new science, lessons learned, case studies,and practices that have been included in the on-line Reef Resilience toolkit and is designed to accelerate the knowledge and facilitateaccess to essential information and tools needed to incorporateresilience principles into management strategies.While the focus of this course is on the problem of coral bleaching andactions that managers can take to address this problem, specifically inthe context of Marine Protected Areas, the recommendations and tools canbe applied to most threats that coral reefs face today. The programincludes key aspects such as:

* An introduction to mass coral bleaching and the ecological andsocial impacts
* Description of the four main principles of resilience and howto identify factors of resilience
* Recommendations on the design and management of resilient MPAs

This course is free and open to anyone interested in learning about Reef Resilience.

How to enroll in the course. This free online course is available for you to work through at your own pace. Here are the steps to begin the training:

1. Navigate to
2. If you have not already done so, create an account on Conservation Training by clicking the 'Create new account' link
3. Once your account is created and confirmed, log into Conservation Training and click'Reef Resilience - Self-paced' course
4. Enter the course and begin by reading the course description and syllabus

More information/questions - If you'd like more information about Reef Resilience and/or the onlinecourse please email

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Supplementary guidelines on the application of the protected area (PA) category system in marine environment

IUCN WCPA is planning to about prepare some supplementary guidelines on the application of the protected area (PA) category system in marine environment. A survey has been developed to assist in preparation of this document. We are inviting marine experts to 1. Complete the survey and 2. Send this email on to others in your network who you think would have some relevant information and opinions to contribute.

In 2008 a revised version of the PA Categories Guidelines was published; this can be downloaded at: Although these revised guidelines provided much more detail on the use and application of the categories (including for MPAs) it was generally agreed that as more MPAs were established and management experience grew further marine specific guidance should be developed.

The supplementary guidance document will build on IUCN-WCPA’s Guidelines for applying protected area management categories. The categories are applicable to both terrestrial and marine protected areas (MPAs); but to date there has been considerably more experience and guidance on implementation in terrestrial areas due both to the lack of advice on using the categories in marine areas – and because of the smaller number of MPAs.

To this end the WCPA’s themes on Science and Capacity Development (led by Marc Hockings and Nigel Dudley respectively) are working with IUCN-WCPA Marine to develop more specific guidance for applying the categories in MPAs. A small team will be workshopping this issue in April 2010 with the aim of developing the draft guidance document for further comment. However to assist the drafting team, people’s views and experience on this issue are being sought prior to the workshop.

Please encourage people from your own networks to help by completing this online questionnaire - the more views we have the better we will be able to support all our efforts.

Please complete this survey with your views and experience no later than Monday 12 April 2010. You can access the survey at


Vice-Chair Marine
IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas