Jamie D. Bechtel warrior at
Thu Feb 17 00:00:48 EST 2000

hello all. it is with great distress that i have been following the line of
thought the past few days.  as a reef biologist having to occasionally
import corals to the US, i understand the grief that permitting can cause.
(for the record, as species of scleractina make their way onto the
endangered species list in the US, it will get worse...more permits for
both importing and exporting).  however, i implore you to consider the
possible long term ramifications of altering a major treaty such as CITES
by adding flexibility.  not only is that flexibility immediately available
for misuse. until the terms are tested in a court of law or at the ICJ, we
won't know the full power of the alternation to the ammended treaty.

this treaty was not created in a vacuum, the CITES 'committee' is fully
aware of the difficulties CITES presents to scientists.  the reason it is
difficult for scientists to import corals under the CITES treaty is that
the standard applied to trade of endangered species in Appendix I is
"wholly non-commercial" vs. "commercial".  this is a very strict standard.
science was included under commercial largely because of development in
genetics and medicinal research for commercial purposes.  it is a standard
designed to protect countries from exploitation by developed nations and to
protect the world from the economical exploitation of pseduoscience. 

yes, scientists are largely responsible for the implementation of treaties
such as CITES. and we are the group of stakeholders that can most quickly
undermine the treaty. i assure you, what the opponets of such treaties
await is dissatisfaction among scientists.  this is the case for the US
endangered species act as well.  the phrase "even scientists find the act
too strict" could become an international political fiasco. if the terms of
the treaty are to come up for consideration, i guarantee that relaxing the
scientific standard won't be the only flexibility mechanism written in.

please, before you immediately condemn the strict standard of the treaty,
consider that it is the scientific agency of your state that is responsible
for permitting procedure. traditionally, the problems arise in
administration and enforcement. a petition to your state or state agency
may be a lot less harmful, and a lot more effective than a persuasive
letter written to the CITES conference of the parties. finally, please
consider that CITES goes alot further than protecting the order of
scleractina...just over 34,000 species are protected under the act. 


Jamie D. Bechtel	
Boston University		Boston College Law School
Department of Biology		885 Centre Street
5 Cummington Street		Newton, MA 02159
Boston, MA 02215		bechtelj at

lable if our
>> aim is truly to protect coral reefs for the future.
>> Sorry scientists !
>> Kalli De Meyer
>> Manager. Bonaire Marine Park
>Fernando A. Zapata
>Departamento de Biologia
>Universidad del Valle
>Apartado Aereo 25360
>Cali, Colombia
>Ph.(+57-2) 321-2171/339-3243
>Fax. (+57-2) 339-2440
>E-Mail:fazr at

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