CITES INFILTRATED BY THE SHARK FIN INDUSTRY

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has recently called upon CITES (the UN Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species, Flora & Fauna) at a recent meeting of the Animals Committee in Geneva, to remove Singaporean Dr Giam Choo Hoo, the Alternate Representative for Asia based on an investigative report that clearly shows that Dr Giam is a representative of the Shark Fin Industry.

This is a clear Conflict of Interest. However, unlike other UN bodies, CITES voted against having Conflict of Interest provisos at their meetings, which has now backfired in their face with the recent exposure of Dr Giam Choo Hoo, the longest serving member in CITES as a representative of the Shark Fin Industry inside CITES.

Shark fin restaurant, Chinatown Bangkok Thailand. Copyright 2015 © Adam Oswell

Shark fin restaurant, Chinatown Bangkok Thailand. Copyright 2015 © Adam Oswell

Australian Secretary General, Mr John Scanlon tried to implement ‘Conflict of Interest’ provisos when he took over his role in 2010, but the member countries unanimously voted the decision down. Why?

Every three years CITES meet at what are known as the CoP (Conference of Parties) Meetings, where decisions on species protection are made. Then next will be CoP16 held in Thailand in March, 2013.

Canberra based SMS (Species Management Specialists) prepare an infamous voting guide, which is clearly based on mis-information and guides delegates to vote against certain species that have been placed up for possible protection by credible scientists and specialists in their field.

One of the founders (also on the board of directors of SMS from January 2003 – December 2010), is a certain Mr Glenn Inwood, also famous for his role as PR front man for the Japanese Whaling operations in the Southern Ocean.

On his own Linked-In page Inwood boasts in his experience “produces an influential voting guide for the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)”. Why would he call it an “influential” voting guide?

We know that Mr Inwood answers to his Japanese masters, which probably explains why at the CoP13 meeting in 2004 where Japan had proposed for CITES to allow commercial trade in Minke whales which was firmly rejected by delegates, Mr Inwood was quoted as saying;

“It’s a travesty,” said Glenn Inwood, a spokesman for Species Management Specialists, a group that has lobbied for the reintroduction of commercial whaling.

Also of interest and taken from the Voting Guide prepared by SMS for the CoP15 in Doha 2010 is – Proposal 19 : Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus). The bluefin was proposed by Morocco to be granted Appendix 1 protection as its population numbers are at a critical level. According to the SMS guide ICCAT (The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) is the “competent managing body”! ICCAT still allow 14,000 tons of bluefin to be “harvested” each year, a number contested by all the leading scientists and even the FAO as un-sustainable, yet SMS, with board director Glenn Inwood recommend in their guide to REJECT.

Their guide are literally a tick box, “Idiot’s Guide To Voting” for delegates who can’t be bothered to do their own homework.

Dr Giam Choo Hoo has represented Species Management Specialists as an observer at three CITES meetings, including once with Glenn Inwood. Therefore it is no wonder that species needing protection, never seem to get it. Dr Giam also protested against an Australian Government investigative report produced by Traffic which was submitted to CITES. In Doha 2010 at the CoP15, there were 8 species of shark recommended for protection status, yet due to the teamwork of Dr Giam, Glenn Inwood and Species Management Specialists these sharks are still un-protected.

Since Sea Shepherd started this campaign, (which is being led by Gary Stokes of Sea Shepherd Hong Kong), Captain Paul Watson has written letters to the CITES Animals Committee and Mr John Scanlon as well as the Singapore Government, The Singapore AVA and Singapore Ministry for Development. We have received letters from both CITES and Singapore Government and investigations are currently underway into Dr Giam’s activities. The Singaporean newspaper The Strait Times have written two articles covering this story, also helping to expose Dr Giam for his sideline activities and starting discussions with Singapore.

An interview of Dr GIAM by Frank Pope of the Times in London is also revealing.

A global petition started by SSCS HK and supported by 25 NGO’s has just passed 7,500 signatures.

http://www.change.org/petitions/save-the-sharks-vote-to-remove-dr-giam-from-cites-and-demand-conflict-of-interest-provisos-be-adopted-by-cites

Media inquiries and interview requests:

To Interview Gary Stokes, Sea Shepherd Hong Kong Co-Ordinator (+852) 6903 3376  hongkong@seashepherd.org

To Interview Captain Paul Watson +1-310-701-3096

To Interview Jeff Hansen – Australian Director Sea Shepherd Conservation Society +61 425 231 725 jeff@seashepherd.org