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Caribbean Conservation Corporation Newsletter - page 7 / 16





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CITES from page 6

such over-exploitation and to prevent international trade from threatening species with extinction.” Known as CITES, the treaty now includes 146 member countries. These countries act by banning commercial international trade in an agreed list of endangered species and by regulat- ing and monitoring trade in others that might become endangered. Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are currently listed on Appendix I, which is reserved for those species in imminent danger of extinction. Specimens or products derived from species listed on Appendix I are banned from trade between member countries without special permission.

Hawksbill shell (or bekko in Japanese) has been used since antiquity as raw material in the making of a variety of products, including jewelry, carved figurines and decorative ornaments. Artisans from Japan are particularly skilled in working with bekko, and there is constant demand in that country for raw hawksbill shell.

Since 1993, Cuba has been stockpiling hawksbill shell from turtles taken in its waters. Approximately six tons of raw shell are now stored in Cuba awaiting permission from CITES to be exported. Under the proposed amendments submitted to CITES for consideration in April, Cuba is asserting that the hawksbills occurring in its territorial waters form a stable enough population to warrant “downlisting” to Appendix II. If either of the proposed amendments (Prop. 11.40 and Prop 11.41) is approved by a two-thirds vote of CITES delegates, Cuba would be allowed the one-time shipment of its entire stockpile to Japan. If Prop. 11.40 is approved, then every year thereaf- ter, Cuba would also be permitted to export shell from an additional 500 hawksbills to Japan and other countries meeting certain guidelines.

Dozens of sea turtle scientists who make up the international Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG) have voiced strong objections to the Cuban proposal. Drs. Meylan and Mortimer are among those on the MTSG who are most knowledgeable about the status of hawksbills in

Hawksbill sea turtles are listed as critically endangered worldwide primarily due to the use of their beautiful shells to make jewelry.

the Caribbean and indeed globally. The CCC delegation will be on hand in Africa to present delegates with factual information about the impacts of the Cuban proposal. With luck and hard work, the proposal will be defeated. Watch for an update on CITES in the next issue of the Velador.


Sending three delegates to Africa for the ten-day confer- ence will cost $10-15,000. The Educational Foundation of America has provided CCC with a grant of $5,000 specifically for this purpose. The Ahimsa Foundation has committed another $2,000. With the help of our mem- bers, CCC is hoping to raise the remainder of the funds needed for this critical mission. Please add your voice to ours as we fight for the future of Caribbean hawksbills by making a donation to CCC’s Save the Hawksbill Fund. Your gift will make a critical difference. You can use the return envelope enclosed in this newsletter. Be sure to earmark your gift to the Save the Hawksbill Fund. For more information or to make a credit card donation, please call (800) 678-7853. Thank you!

"Nonsense" ESA bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and Rep. Richard Pombo (R- CA) recently introduced H.R. 3160, the "Common Sense Protections for Endangered Species Act" – or what environ- mentalists like to call the "Nonsense Protections Act." With 32 co-sponsors, the bill may gain legislative momentum.

A full House Resources Committee Hearing on Febru- ary 2nd did not feature the pro-environmental "Endangered Species Recovery Act" (H.R. 960) introduced by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) with 90 co-sponsors. A side-by-side comparison shows the dramatic differences between the two bills.

the Endangered Species Act. The low points include:

LISTING: The Young/Pombo bill would allow states to block additions to the endangered species list. For species native to a state, federal protection will no longer apply if the state has some semblance of a state ESA – even if it’s like most state ESAs, unfunded and unenforced.

CRITICAL HABITAT: TheYoung/Pombo bill eliminates critical habitat designation. The bill adopts some of the

H.R. 3160 essentially repeals the meaningful sections of

see ESA Attack on page 11 Winter 2000 7

CCC File Photo

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