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June 5, 2002 Tooth-fish Nominated for International Protection      


toothfish nominated for international protection - 5 June 2002

5th June 2002 - SYDNEY

Humane Society International is delighted to be able to congratulate the Australian Government on its decision today to pursue an Appendix II nominations for Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

"HSI congratulates Dr David Kemp and Dr Sharman Stone for their commitment to this important nomination, despite the controversy that it will no doubt attract," HSI's Wildlife and Habitat Protection Campaigner, Rebecca Brand said today.

Ms Brand said, "Australia could expect strong opposition to this nomination from countries such as Japan because of their determination that environment treaties not be called upon to help out with fisheries management problems."

Toothfish is under severe pressure from illegal and unregulated fishing activities operating in the Southern Ocean, exceedingly jeopardising the sustainability of remaining stocks. The species is currently managed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources (CCAMLR), a body that has introduced a catch and trade documentation scheme as an attempt to tackle illegal poaching of this species. However, despite these efforts, CCAMLR is restricted in both geographical coverage and membership, facts that continue to threaten the future conservation status of the species and the future of the legal fisheries.

An Appendix II listing under CITES would allow international trade in Toothfish to be regulated to ensure trade is conducted at sustainable levels. It is also the best way of deterring illegal fishers and helping to protect endangered species of Albatross and Petrel, caught as bycatch by these illegal boats.

"HSI almost secured a nomination from the Australian Government at the last CITES nomination deadline in November 1999, but at the time we did not enjoy the support of industry or the broad coalition of international conservation groups that we do now," Ms Brand said today. "Major credit for success this time around must go to Austral Fisheries for their commitment to this campaign so far and for their foresight for the future of toothfish."

With the strong coalition of major conservation groups including WWF, TRAFFIC and Greenpeace, and with the support of the Australian toothfish industry, HSI will now seek the support from other CITES Parties for an Appendix II listing, when Parties meet to vote on the nominations at the November meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) in Santiago, Chile.


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