Action by the CITES committee to address the illegal marine turtle trade was expected to be postponed until CoP19 in 2022. In an unexpected move by Parties, the committee decided to write and adopt stronger decisions now.
In response, WWF issued the following statement from Christine Madden Hof, Marine Species Project Manager, WWF-Australia and Turtle Use and Trade Initiate lead Asia-Pacific:
“This is a win for marine turtle conservation. It is now up to governments to effectively implement these decisions and ease the pressure from illegal trade so that we no longer see population declines. “Range, transit and consumer countries are now urged to work together to improve monitoring, detection and law enforcement activities in coastal areas and transaction points for this far-ranging species. This includes increasing the accountability and oversight of fishing vessels in marine turtle landing sites. To improve the traceability of illegal products and their origin, governments are also urged to perform DNA sampling of shell products. This will enhance monitoring of illegal activity and population decline.
“WWF calls on CITES Parties to continue progress made at CoP18 and secure a future for marine turtles.”