Our Chief Executive Dominic Whitmee (pictured), present at CITES CoP18 on behalf of the European Pet Organization, made the following intervention on Proposal 94 Conservation management of and trade in marine ornamental fishes.

“This intervention has the support of Ornamental Fish International, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and IWMC.

“We join others in sending our condolences to Sri Lanka, and thanking the secretariat for all their efforts in reorganising this Conf of Parties at short notice.

“As an industry we support a sustainable and legal trade. Unfortunately, however, we do not believe that Document 94 represents a balanced view of the trade in marine ornamental fish or the impact of that trade on wild populations, failing to reference key literature or industry data. In considering this issue it is important that all evidence is fully examined and is reliable, verified, quantitative and, as far as practicable, officially verified.

“Full engagement is needed with all relevant actors, including trade and industry, other relevant international bodies such as FAO, IUCN, WCMC, public zoos and aquaria, scientific and research institutions and academia, and regulators and officials in key range states.

“It is particularly important that any technical experts contracted to prepare workshop documents are independent and unbiased and engage with industry and others in developing any documents. On this basis we support the proposal made by FAO in Inf. Doc. 69 as a valuable and necessary contribution to any work in this area.

“The current proposal for a workshop is far too open in its scope and it is difficult to understand what outcomes could be derived from it. The scope of any workshop needs to be clear on its objectives and balanced in its considerations. The terms of reference of the proposed workshop need to be explicitly identified in order to ensure the full and comprehensive picture required to support any future decisions.

“The issues identified by Document 12 and Inf.Doc.8 also raise issues highly pertinent to the considerations of the proposed workshop and we believe there would be considerable merit in considering the issues raised by these two papers in any workshop, particularly the proposed review to ensure that any proposals coming from the workshop do not exacerbate existing problems.

“We would like to be involved in any work going forward.”

The amendments put forward by CITES Secretariat (which can be seen in this document) have been agreed.