Willem Wijnstekers, the Secretary-General of CITES’ Policy and Management Unit believes that CITES should be involved in conservation initiatives worldwide.
He has predicted that the 2,000 delegates from 160 countries meeting this week in the Chilean capital, Santiago, will take decisions that will cause commercial fish species to be included within the CITES regulatory Appendices.
If accepted, proposals submitted by Australia, will bring strict regulations to curb the over-fishing of Antarctic or Patagonian toothfish, frequently called Chilean sea bass. The species, known to have been increasingly over-fished in the south pacific for more than 20 years, has been the subject of an on-going US restaurateur boycott.
Wijnstekers said that he believed strong interests had been at work for some time to try and prevent the focus of CITES conservation measures being directed at commercial fishing.
Previous CITES conservation measures have included the sturgeon and associated products, namely caviar. However, previous attempts to have tuna included were unsuccessful.