The European Union withdrew its proposal near the end of the day today to include the Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The withdrawal came after Indonesia opposed the proposal during the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to CITES.
The EU offered to withdraw its proposal upon the agreement of so-called draft decisions. “Should these decisions be adopted by CoP17,” said the EU’s representative, “we would be ready to consider withdrawing our proposal to include the species in Appendix II.”
The draft decisions are as follows:
- Indonesia should implement conservation and management measures to insure the sustainability of international trade in Pterapogon kauderni and report progress on these measures to the Animals Committee at its 30th meeting.
- Subject to external funding, the Secretariat shall permission a study to assess the impact of international trade on the conservation status of Pterapogon kauderni and to advise on suitable conservation and management as appropriate.
- The Secretariat shall share the results of the study as referred to above with the Animals Committee at its 30th meeting.
- The Animals Committee, at its 30th meeting, shall review the progress report submitted by Indonesia as referred to above, as well as the results of the study referred to above, and make its recommendation to the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties
- Donor parties and other relevant organizations, including FAO, are invited and encouraged to provide support to Indonesia and the Secretariat for the purpose of implementing the above decisions.
Indonesia responded to the EU’s draft decisions by saying, “Indonesia will adopt the draft decision proposed by EU and will report the progress to the 30th Animal Committee meeting.”
“With the agreement of Indonesia as the only range state for this species,” stated the Committee Chair, “I am assuming that we will have a consensus agreement of these draft decisions.” The Chair then asked for opposition to which Brazil responded with the following:
We will not block the consensus on this but we’re uncomfortable of having decision introduced at 7:30 [pm]. I think this information–the communication–can be a bit improved. If Indonesia is happy with this decision we will be happy to go with it, but we would prefer that this information be made available to parties ahead of time so we can examine them.
Conceding that the “procedure is not ideal,” the Chair nonetheless continued, saying “obviously we get to the agenda items when we can, and we had a very full agenda–again we still have a number of items to get through.”
With 11 proposals still on the agenda, and the meeting having already run two and one-half hours over, there was palpable frustration amongst some Parties and observers consistent with that which Brazil had expressed.
In a rush to get through the remaining 11 species in 30 minutes, most substantive debate regarding the proposals went by the wayside. For example, the next proposal, which sought to list the clarion angelfish (Holacanthus clarionensis) under Appendix II (and which the Secretariat had recommended be rejected in favor of a possible Appendix III listing by Mexico), was adopted with 69 votes in favor, 21 votes against and 15 abstentions. The clarion angelfish is listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with a population trend deemed “stable.” Many experts agree the clarion angelfish does not meet the criteria for inclusion in Appendix II. The Banggai cardinalfish, on the other hand, is listed as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with a “decreasing” population trend. Many experts agree this species does meet the criteria for inclusion in Appendix II, and it is proposed for listing as “threatened” under the US Endangered Species Act.
Stay tuned to the Good Catch Blog for a more detailed analysis of the withdrawal of the Banggai cardinalfish proposal and what it means for the species and the trade in marine aquarium fishes.