A journey into Extinction?

Clearly we are millions of people under shock since the UN conference CITES closed its doors in Doha last week. We had naively hoped that common sense  and science  would prevail with regard to dramatic decline in key species and the need to preserve remaining stocks.   To add a little clarity to Jupp Borg’s lament below, the vote for the death of our oceans was made by just 40 or 50 individuals – a speck of dust in the universe, but that is all that was needed. A minute, paid up, nondescript conglomerate who are now spilling over with satisfaction and reaping personal benefits to have done just this.  Can they account honestly to their country, to each member of the community as to why they decided to lead them forward to this “ journey into Extinction”?  Can they explain to the international community their real leitmotif?    

Unfortunately ocean life seem to be firmly under their thumbs just now, due to a long term strategy put in place in the early 90’s by Japan.  The plan was ultimate governance of the world’s living marine resources by the 21st century.     It is with this latest victory in their pocket that this dismal and secret body will try and do a repeat at the IWC in Morocco next June to finish off the whales.  
World press now has the responsibility to do something about this, as we do.  Tides have been turned in the past and must be now.  

Lesley Sutty

A journey into Extinction

At the 15th Conference of the Parties of CITES (Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), in
beautiful Doha/Qatar, the oceans were dealt a terrible blow by Japan.

It was Japan, together with China, Singapore and quite a few of the
small countries, who received financial aid from Japan and
participated in what I would call "The Oceans' Pearl Harbor".  To
watch them win this battle during which we all worked so hard to save
and protect endangered marine species from extinction, was
The big losers of this despicable and ruthless behavior are the
oceans, the sharks, the red corrals and the Atlantic blue fin tuna.

Since the ocean is our life support system, that makes all humans who
live on this planet, big losers as well. Without a healthy ocean we
will not be able to survive. That's why I can't help asking myself,
"Who gives those people the right to loot our oceans?" Sadly, the
answer is: "The members of CITES". They handed them the mandate to do

The fact that Japan was represented by 50 people, giving a lavish
sushi party at their embassy the night before the vote on the tuna,
twisting arms and applying pressure on the poor countries to get their
vote,  is clever but a disgusting display of "ownership" over our
oceans. Am I wrong when I say "our oceans"? Until now I was under the
impression that the world's oceans belong to all of humanity and not
to a "chosen few", who claim it their birthright to rob them of
whatever those people like. The sushi party clearly tells me how the
votes against sharks, tuna and red corals came about. You don't need
to be a marine scientist to figure that out.

I don't believe that anybody would doubt that this kind of behavior
had one common denominator: Money. I found it quite embarrassing to
watch the representative from Island, walking around after the final
vote on the Porbeagle shark was lost; putting her arms around every
Japanese she could get her hands on and hugging the representatives
from Singapore to show her pleasure over the damage they did to our

So what did we finally achieve as far as the oceans are concerned? It
was a death sentence to the blue fin tuna and to certain shark
species, which made those people, whose only concern is money, so very
happy. There was little talk about the protection of marine life.
Nobody paid attention to the scientists, who warned about the
consequences to the ocean if those species would be exterminated.

The fact that the population of the blue fin tuna has already been
reduced by 80%, that the red coral is almost extinct in the
Mediterranean, and that the hammerhead and some other sharks have been
depleted by 90% in some areas, did not matter to those who want to
continue the multibillion dollar business of killing them all.

Is that what CITES is all about? Has it become a convention in favor
of trade with endangered species? There was a lot of talk about poor
people who would suffer if we stop the killing; but I don't know too
many poor people who do damage to the oceans. The damage is done by
huge long-line fishing vessels, owned by rich people.  I also don't
think that too many poor people will indulge in blue fin tuna sushi or
in shark fin soup. That is exactly what the Japanese are doing and
that's why the Sunday Times rightfully calls them: "A Country out of

Jupp Kerckerinck zur Borg
Shark Research
Institute &