Brussels, Belgium – 5 October 2022 | Today, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution urging the European Commission and Member States to take a stronger stand against illegal wildlife trade and to further protect threatened species.
This Resolution comes a month before the key upcoming meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP19) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) - held in Panama from 14 - 25 November 2022.
The MEPs called on the Commission to adopt supplementary legislation to ensure that the import, export, sale or transport of wild animals or plants in violation of the law of the country of origin or transit is criminalised.
The current EU Wildlife Trade Regulations does not cover all illegal wildlife trade, and many species are protected nationally, but not at CITES level, and therefore can be legally imported and traded in the EU. This is a crucial loophole that needs to be addressed urgently.
Acknowledging the unprecedented global decline in biodiversity, the Resolution calls for a precautionary approach on species protection during COP 19 negotiations and urges EU Member States and all other parties to support proposals submitted to CoP19 to better protect reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish and mammals that are threatened by the international trade for the pet market.
On marine species, the Resolution stresses that sharks and rays play a key role in keeping ocean life healthy and recommends strengthening their protection and conservation. Referring to the EU’s key role in the global shark trade as highlighted in IFAW’s shark trade report, MEPs call on the EU to cement its support for all shark proposals on the table at CoP19. The Resolution also suggests that CITES parties should further explore and address the worrying mismatch identified between the catch and trade levels of CITES-listed shark species, so that potential sources of underreporting or illegal trade are identified.
The European Parliament also urged the EU to sanction underwater noise pollution. This comes as IFAW recently launched a campaign, Blue Speeds, calling for reduced commercial shipping speeds – as part of the offences that should be covered by the Environmental Crime Directive, currently under revision.
Finally, the text reiterates that wildlife cybercrime should be given the same level of priority as other forms of cybercrime and the Commission and Member States should make use of new tools introduced by the EU Digital Services Act to address wildlife cybercrime. This supports IFAW’s call on the Commission to promptly facilitate the drawing up of EU codes of conduct to tackle the wildlife cybercrime.
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