Agenda item 51: Cetaceans

IMPORTANT NOTE

The position and information below (including the full position on page 34 of WWF Positions CITES COP14) were developed based on the document submitted by the government of Japan to the CITES Secretariat by the 4 January 2007 deadline (and subsequently posted to the CITES website).

That document has now been removed. The CITES Secretariat has posted Document 51 in the three working languages of the Convention; this document has substantive changes from the one posted earlier (three sentences have been removed, we assume by the proponent).

WWF's position urging the CITES Parties to reject the draft decisions is the same, but we regret the inconvenience that some of the aspects of our position are now mooted by these changes.

Document 51, submitted by Japan, proposes two draft Decisions, comprising three main recommendations:

  1. The first draft Decision requests the Animals Committee (AC) to include all Appendix-I listed cetacean species that are managed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in the Periodic Review of the Appendices.
  2. This draft Decision also requests the AC to propose amendments to Resolution Conf. 11.4 (Rev. CoP12), which outlines the relationship between CITES and the IWC. Amendments are proposed by Japan based on “i) a review of the current situation regarding illegal trade in whale products, ii) advice from the IWC Scientific Committee concerning the status of whale stocks and iii) the decision of the IWC that the moratorium on commercial whaling is no longer required”.
  3. The second draft Decision directs the CITES Secretariat to write to the IWC Secretariat conveying the concern of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) regarding the postponement of the RMS discussions and, “in the spirit of Article XV, paragraph 2 (b) … request scientific data and seek advice concerning the listing of whale species on CITES appendices in the absence of any prospect for the completion of the RMS.”
WWF position OPPOSE
For WWF's full position, including the rationale and further information, please see page 34 in WWF Positions CITES COP14. Download PDF (3.6 MB | 48 pages)

Why is WWF opposing this agenda item?

WWF opposes the adoption of the draft Decisions in Document 51 because:
  1. Inclusion of all Appendix-I listed cetaceans that are managed by the IWC in the Periodic Review of the Appendices is contrary to the process and direction that have been determined for the selection of species for Periodic Review by the Standing Committee (SC) and the AC.
  2. Modifications to Res. Conf. 11.4 (Rev. CoP12) Conservation of cetaceans, trade in cetacean specimens and the relationship with the International Whaling Commission should not be considered whilst the factors originally motivating this resolution have not changed, nor is it the role of the Animals Committee to propose such amendments.
  3. It is not appropriate or consistent with the role of the CITES Secretariat, as spelled out in the text of the Convention, for the CITES Secretariat to request scientific data and seek advice from the IWC concerning the listing of whale species on the Appendices, when there is no proposal currently under consideration to amend the CITES Appendices for any cetacean species.

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