Faced with the possibility of spending another long day at the conference center, delegates shortened their interventions and fell silent on some agenda items, allowing for the pace of discussions to pick up speed and for consensus to be reached more quickly.
Delegates dealt with a number of difficult topics. One of them was the trafficking of totoaba fish, which directly impacts the fate of the vaquita porpoise that teeters on the edge of extinction. The CITES Secretariat acknowledged some progress has been made but continued to express concern, proposing new missions be conducted to the US and China, as transit and destination countries of international totoaba trafficking.
Many delegations also called for a technical advisory group to support compliance implementation in Mexico. CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero expressed concern, noting compliance cases rely on the sharing of sensitive and confidential information. The Secretariat cautioned against creating new modalities for dealing with compliance cases, noting that in the case of Madagascar, it was the country itself that requested a group of parties to provide advisory support. He also recalled previous discussions on the possible creation of a compliance committee, ultimately suggesting to defer the discussion to the Conference of Parties.
On another aquatic topic, many parties highlighted the difficulties facing the oceanic whitetip shark, with calls to prioritize analysis on the mismatch between catch and trade data and in monitoring introduction from the sea implementation.
Delegates also discussed remaining compliance cases and tackled Review of Significant Trade agenda items.
In between discussions, CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero awarded the Certificate of Commendation to EUROPOL in recognition of “Operation Lake,” a series of operation activities that led to the seizure of 25 tonnes of the protected European glass eels and the arrest of 256 criminals.