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Fwd: [cepnews_rcu] U.S. Supports International Conservation Measures for Queen Conch

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  • Lloyd Gardner
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2003
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      >Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 07:38:51 -0500
      >Subject: [cepnews_rcu] U.S. Supports International Conservation Measures
      >for Queen Conch
      >Reply-To: cepnews_rcu-owner@yahoogroups.com
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      >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.
      > -fws-
      > 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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