Department of the Interior
|Office of the Secretary||
Contact: Tom Bauer in Bangkok
|October 8, 2004||
Assistant Secretary Manson Seeks Support of China For Proposal to Conserve Irrawaddy Dolphin
(BANGKOK, Thailand) -- Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Craig Manson sought the support of China in increasing international trade restrictions for the Irrawaddy dolphin and other Asian species during meetings with Zhao Xuemin, vice administrator of China's State Forestry Administration earlier this week.
occurred at the 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),
a 166-nation treaty that regulates trade of threatened and endangered
species among nations.
Manson and Zhao
also discussed cooperation between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
and National Park Service and their counterpart agencies in China as
well as on conservation and enforcement of wildlife laws on a regional
and global basis.
"The United States and
China have a long history of cooperation in wildlife management on issues
such as panda conservation; large lake fishery habitat restoration;
CITES implementation, inspection, and enforcement; and wetlands restoration,"
said Manson, who is heading the U.S. delegation to CITES. "We had
a positive discussion on how to build on this cooperation in the future."
Manson raised the question
of transferring the Irrawaddy dolphin from Appendix II to Appendix I
of the CITES convention. The dolphin, commonly found in shallow tropical
estuaries and bays in Southeast Asia, is unusual because it can live
in both fresh and salty water. Populations of the species are being
depleted by entanglements in fishing nets and capture for live sale
"Based on our conversation," Manson said, "I'm hopeful the Chinese can support the listing of the Irrawaddy dolphin."
The United States is supporting
this proposal by Thailand based on an International Whaling Commission
report that densities of the dolphin appear to be low in most areas
and several populations are believed to be seriously depleted.
Any listing of a species in either Appendix I or II requires approval by two-thirds of the CITES party countries.
The United States has also submitted proposals to protect three Asian turtle species, the painted bunting (a North American songbird), and the humphead wrasse (a coral reef fish).
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