New TRAFFIC study throws light on supply chain traceability

TRAFFIC has compiled a ground-breaking traceability review of how trade in species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) can be tracked along the supply chain.

The study, Traceability Systems in the CITES Context: A Review of Experiences, Best Practices and Lessons Learned for the Traceability of Commodities of CITES-listed Shark species (PDF, 2.5 MB) complements TRAFFIC’s earlier work on Non-Detriment Findings that developed guidance to help governments’ CITES Management Authorities determine what levels of trade in particular species are sustainable.

“The traceability study is all about the next step in the process—that of ensuring any wildlife commodities considered to be sustainably sourced are traded in a legal and transparent manner,” said Glenn Sant, TRAFFIC’s Fisheries Programme Leader and a co-author of the traceability systems study.

The tracking of products will help ensure relevant national and international legislation is being adhered to throughout the trade chain in a transparent manner, and will, for example, help prevent the mixing of shark and ray products sourced from sustainable and unsustainable fisheries before sale to consumers.

“Consumers should be demanding governments introduce traceability systems to ensure they are not unwittingly purchasing and therefore supporting the trade in shark and ray products from unsustainable fisheries or from illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing,” said Sant.

“In the absence of traceability and labelling consumers are left in a situation where buying these products is in effect a lucky dip for sustainable products.”

The traceability review does not confine itself to shark and ray trade, but also includes case studies on trade in sturgeon caviar, crocodile skins, Queen Conch and timber—examples that were selected for their potential to provide relevant guidance for the traceability of CITES-listed shark products.

The report considers the experiences, lessons learned and best practices from these case studies and analyses in the potential for establishing an effective traceability system for shark commodities—along the lines of those already developed in the CITES context.

The study is a document commissioned by the CITES Secretariat and provided to the meeting ahead of next week’s 66th CITES Standing Committee. It has been tabled ahead of a session on trade in shark and ray products and one considering the future of traceability in the whole CITES context.

The session will examine any issues arising from the listing in Appendix II of CITES of a number of shark species, which meant regulated international trade in the species was permitted. The listing entered into force in September 2014.

“A little effort now to improve traceability could go a long way towards stemming the further decline of shark and ray populations and help to achieve the goal of trade only occurring in legal and sustainably sourced products,” said Sant.

TRAFFIC’s report is an Information Document for the 66th CITES Standing Committee meeting takes place from 11–15th January 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. This is one of the last inter-sessional meetings of the Convention to be held ahead of the crucial 17th Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17), which takes place in South Africa in September this year.

Quelle und Download: TRAFFIC