Feeds

CITES bans international trade in sawfish

Snouts and fins off the menu

New hybrid storage solutions

A meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in the Hague has banned the international trade in sawfish - threatened by demand for their attractive snouts, or rostra, and fins.

According to the BBC, the rostra are used as novelty items, in traditional medicine, and (animal lovers look away now) to make cockfighting spurs in Latin America. They go for anything up to $1,500 (£750) a pop and, as Dorothy Nyingi from the National Museums of Kenya told delegates, any Kenyan fisherman lucky enough to catch one might well be able to retire on the proceeds.

This trade has reduced populations of the seven sawfish species to 10 per cent of their historic levels, with the animal now gone "from waters stretching from the east coast of the US to southeast Asia".

The CITES blurb elaborates: "Species of Pristidae are generally tropical marine and estuarine elasmobranchs that have a circumtropical distribution. Their distribution was presumably once continuous in suitable habitat, but is now severely fragmented with many populations extirpated from large parts of their former ranges and with remaining populations seriously depleted."

Accordingly, CITES delegates agreed to add sawfish to its Appendix 1, which "includes species threatened with extinction". CITES explains: Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances."

Australia managed to get a limited sawfish trade exemption for "allowing live exports for aquaria" of Pristis microdon, the freshwater Largetooth Sawfish, the argument being that sticking the creatures on public display was the best way to educate the public.

Oz's delegate Kerry Smith said: "It's universally recognised that the threat to sawfish comes from the trade in fins and rostra. Northern Australia has robust populations of Pristis microdon occurring in large and remote areas which have not been subject to destructive harvesting."

Greenpeace was having none of it. The organisation's Carroll Muffett said: "Australia is putting the very survival of these magnificent animals at risk to protect an industry worth less than £100,000."

The WWF was generally pleased with the result, although its Sue Lieberman "expressed frustration that delegates had on Friday rejected proposals to protect two other sharks, the porbeagle and spiny dogfish". ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs
Boolardy Engineering Test Array - aka BETA - is about to come out of Beta
LOHAN invites ENTIRE REG READERSHIP to New Mexico shindig
Well, those of you who back our Kickstarter tin-rattling...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.