Sharks for sale on a fish market © Fiona Ayerst Marine Photobank
Manila, 24 October 2017 - The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) is calling for global action on aquatic wild meat, which is fast becoming a conservation problem on a scale similar to that of terrestrial bushmeat.
The harvesting of aquatic mammals, including whales, dolphins and sea cows, and reptiles such as turtles and crocodiles, is the subject of a policy brief developed for CMS Parties. It shows that increasing numbers are hunted for subsistence and traditional uses by coastal communities, or sold in local markets. A changing climate, scarcity of other meat sources, community displacement and dwindling fish stocks due to distant-water fishing fleets have forced many communities into marginal areas, and their reliance on aquatic wild meat has grown.
Accordingly, the engagement of local and rural communities is critical to the management of aquatic wild meat harvests, especially of those that are traditionally dependent on CMS-listed species for their livelihood.
At COP12, delegates will be briefed on the impact of the practice on selected CMS-listed species in West and Central Africa, the Indian Ocean and its rivers, the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea, South-East Asia, the Timor Sea, the Pacific Islands Region, the Caribbean and Latin America.
CMS Parties will consider for adoption, a draft resolution calling for cooperation and collaboration in ensuring better monitoring of harvesting activities and research into the impact of aquatic wild meat on the survival and regeneration of affected species.
Multiple stakeholders can play an important role in providing the financial, technical and capacity support required to help affected countries and local communities in managing their aquatic wild meat harvest to make it sustainable. This requires also tackling the associated issues of poverty, habitat degradation, human population growth and overexploitation of natural resources.
The resolution foresees the establishment of a thematic working group to provide expert advice to CMS Parties and help in coordinating CMS’s work on the subject with other relevant fora.
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Last updated on 24 October 2017