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Database launched to track caviar trade
Geneva, 30 November 2007 – In an effort to better monitor
the origin of caviar in international markets and tackle illegal
catch and trade, the Secretariat of the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and
the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) will
launch today a computerized database
that will track shipments of caviar around the world.
The database will record details of all permits and certificates
that authorize trade in caviar. It will help detect and deter
fraudulent applications to trade in caviar. It will also enable
national CITES authorities to check the history of caviar shipments
to confirm that their original export was lawful and the quantities
and caviar types that were authorized for trade.
In the past, considerable ‘laundering’ of illegal-origin
caviar occurred when unscrupulous traders obtained genuine CITES
documents by making false statements about where the caviar had
been obtained. The new database will allow authorities to identify
when such fraudulent applications are made. This initiative backs
up a labelling system that requires all containers of caviar to
have a label with details of its origin and production.
As stocks of wild sturgeons, the fish whose eggs are processed
into caviar, have declined in recent years, legal exports of these
species have fallen. In the meantime, the CITES Secretariat continues
to receive frequent evidence of illegal caviar trade, including
in beluga, the world’s most valuable caviar.
Welcoming the introduction of the new database, Willem Wijnstekers,
Secretary-General of CITES, said. “This is an important
tool in our battle to save sturgeons and fight criminals who seek
to overexploit a number of species of great conservation concern.
Sturgeons have existed since prehistoric times and we all need
to ensure that the demand for the luxury product of caviar does
not threaten their survival in the wild. I encourage all caviar
trading countries to make full use of the database.”
The database was funded by the European Commission and developed
and maintained by UNEP-WCMC at its offices in Cambridge, United
Kingdom, on behalf of the CITES Secretariat. UNEP-WCMC is a collaboration
between the United Nations Environment Programme, the world's
foremost intergovernmental environmental organization, and WCMC
2000, a UK-based charity.
For more information: Contact Juan-Carlos Vasquez
at +41-22-917-8156/28 or
or John Sellar at +41-22-917-8293 or or
John Caldwell +44-(0)1223-277314 Extn. 249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also www.cites.org and www.unep-wcmc.org.
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