CITES stuff

Kalli De Meyer kdm at
Wed Feb 16 11:16:16 EST 2000

Whilst I can well understand the frustration of scientists working in
coral reef environments over the inconvenience of having to deal with
CITES documentation every time they wish to move corals between 
I think we should not loose sight of some  other important issues.

>From my perspective, as a resource manager, CITES does two 
things in addition to making reef scientists' life a misery:

The pressure to allow "some" export in corals for souvenir items, 
aquaria, or whatever can be great. This is particularly true when 
small (poor) countries have to deal with commercial (rich) 
enterpreneurs. CITES really helps protect coral reefs from export 
driven extraction as it can now be made almightily difficult for 
individuals or companies to legally transport the corals and 
because, thankfully, Customs officials in Europe and the USA 
really do try to enforce these regulations.

Secondly, and to my mind even more importantly, the educational 
aspect should not be overlooked. Anyone moving their household 
between countries has to be aware of CITES these days. Every 
tourist buying souvenirs. Even kids wanting to take just "one coral" 
home for a school project have to recogn with CITES. Their 
inevitable first question is always WHY is it being made so difficult. 
The value of this learning lesson is to my mind incalculable if our 
aim is truly to protect coral reefs for the future. 

Sorry scientists !

Kalli De Meyer
Manager. Bonaire Marine Park

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