Environmental officials from 171 countries are leaving The Hague today after adopting more than 100 formal decisions that update the regulations governing international wildlife trade.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES, closed its triennial meeting by once more turning back attempts by Japan, Iceland and their pro-whaling allies to lift restrictions on international commercial trade in whale products.
After a heated debate that threatened to bring the meeting to a standstill, the CITES delegates adopted an Australian resolution that no reviews of whale species should take place as long as the International Whaling Commission's ban on commercial whaling continues. This means that no whales will be subject to the CITES periodic review process.
At the CITES conference, extensive discussions on marine species led to the inclusion in CITES of the European eel, a popular food in many countries. The eel joins a growing list of high-value fish and other marine species whose trade is managed through the CITES permit system to ensure that stocks are not depleted.
This trend reflects growing concern about the accelerating decline of the world's oceans and fisheries, said CITES Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers.
After lengthy budget negotiations and three votes which failed to achieve the required 75 percent majority, delegates took a short break and returned to approve a proposal by Ireland for a six percent increase in the budget.
Qatar offered to host the next Conference of the Parties and presented a video of his country, and delegates adopted by acclamation the time and venue for next COP to take place in Doha, Qatar, in 2010.