Fwd: [cepnews_rcu] U.S. Supports International Conservation Measures for Queen Conch
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>Subject: [cepnews_rcu] U.S. Supports International Conservation Measures
>for Queen Conch
>Groups | <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cepnews_rcu>cepnews_rcu Main Page
>For Release: September 29, 2003
>Contact: Patricia Fisher 202 208 1459
>U.S. Supports International Conservation Measures for Queen Conch
>The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the United States
>will prohibit the importation of queen conch, its meat, shells, and other
>products from three Caribbean countries? Honduras, the Dominican Republic,
>and Haiti? in support of an international effort to help stem continued and
>significant declines in this species. The ban implements restrictions in
>the United States that have been called for globally under the Convention
>on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or
>"The United States is the world's largest marketplace for queen conch,
>accounting for 80 percent of the legal trade," said Service Director Steve
>Williams. "We are joining our CITES partners in implementing and enforcing
>this global conservation action to make sure queen conch is a sustainable
>and valuable commercial resource throughout the Caribbean region."
>A similar embargo on international trade under CITES is already in place
>for queen conch and conch products from four other Caribbean countries?
>Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Dominica; and Trinidad and Tobago. Before
>trade can resume, each of these seven countries must implement a number of
>long-term conservation measures, such as conducting population surveys and
>developing scientifically sound species management programs to ensure the
>sustainability of its conch population.
>Queen conch, an edible marine snail recognized worldwide by its large,
>beautiful pink shell, is found throughout the Caribbean Sea, including
>Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as in the
>Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda. Heavily fished for its meat, a tourist
>favorite, its shells and pearls are sought after by collectors and for
>jewelry, making queen conch one of the most important Caribbean fisheries.
>This species is vulnerable to commercial exploitation as once it is
>depleted, it can take many years to recover.
>The Service is the federal agency responsible for implementing CITES in
>this country. Working with its Federal partners, the U.S. Department of
>State and the U.S. Commerce Department's NOAA-Fisheries, The Service
>promotes regional cooperation, scientifically-based management plans, and
>enhanced law enforcement capabilities. Marking its 30th anniversary this
>year, CITES is a treaty to which the U.S. and some 160 other nations
>belong, including Honduras and the Dominican Republic. The treaty provides
>for the monitoring and regulating of international commerce in wild animal
>and plant species through a system of permits.
>Since the mid-1980's, the State of Florida and the Federal government have
>banned all harvest of native queen conch populations found in State of
>Florida waters and adjacent Federal waters. In 1992, the U.S. proposal to
>place queen conch on CITES appendix II was adopted by the CITES parties.
>An appendix II listing includes species that, although currently not
>threatened with extinction, may become so without trade controls. These
>controls ensure trade is legal and does not threaten the species' survival
>in the wild.
> "Although the U.S. is temporarily closing its doors to queen conch imports
>from these three countries in order to give these populations an
>opportunity to recover, Americans can still purchase this commodity from
>other countries where legal trade is allowed," Williams said. "However, we
>are now asking U.S. tourists who visit the Caribbean to take care before
>purchasing any queen conch meat or souvenirs because they chance having it
>confiscated upon their return."
>To learn more about queen conch please visit the following websites:
>The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
>responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
>plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
>people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
>System, which encompasses 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
>wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national
>fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services
>field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the
>Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores
>nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat
>such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation
>efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes
>hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting
>equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
> For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
> visit our homepage at <http://www.fws.gov>http://www.fws.gov
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