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The 34th Session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO that was held in Brazil through 3 August 2010, resulted in adding 21 new sites to the World Heritage List, now totaling 911 sites. Two of the new sites are some of the world’s largest marine protected areas, the Phoenix Islands Protected Areas in Kiribati and Papahānaumokuākea in Hawai’i.

Today it’s all about last-day expectations. All important discussions have been put off for today’s plenary. The reopening of the bluefin tuna, sharks and corals debates will depend upon the support of the parties. Today we may obtain more protection for more species… or be doomed to lose them.

Finally CITES failed to ban the international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna and implement international trade regulations for eight shark species and 31 species of red and pink coral, all of which are essential to the oceans, livelihoods and local economies. A tragedy for the Oceans.

Today all four shark proposals were debated. Unfortunately, only one was approved. The proposals to protect hammerhead sharks, oceanic whitetips and the spurdog were rejected. The good news is that the proposal to protect the porbeagle was agreed! This is a large, migratory and warm blooded shark. It´s meat is heavily consumed in Europe. The CITES listing (in Appendix II) means that the species traded will only come from sustianable and healthy populatons.

Tomorrow proposals for protection of 8 shark species will be discussed. We are very excited cause it seems that there is a will to reach an agreement. Some fishing countries, like Spain, seem to be in favour of these proposals and everyone, including countries envolved in shark fisheries and trade, aknowledge that there is a problem.

Anne Schroeer Talks about Upcoming Shark Decisions.

This morning, Sunday, we were back to work. The EU finally organized a coordination meeting wiht the NGOs, thanks pushing by our colleague from the office in Brussels! We didn´t get much information out of it. Bluefin didn´t get discussed at all, sharks were all good since the EU supports all proposals, and the same for corals.

Last evening we went on a boat ride on a traditional wooden fishing boat. Well, the boat was so traditional that the motors broke and we were out at sea, drifting away, for a while before they got fixed. We finally ended up back at port, safe and sound!

Today we went to a delgate dinner. All the delegations there with lots of food... But since we are in a muslim contry, there was no alcohol. One of our colleagues sat down at a table wiht the Lybian and Japanese delegates!

Friday 19 March

Despite the European proposal for the protection of bluefin tuna's defeat, not everything is lost yet. There is still a little possibility to which we'll hold tight. Today is a day for praying so there'll be no meetings. We'll take this opportunity to go out for a walk and clear up our minds. There got to be a solution.

CITES Update about Bluefin Tuna by María José Cornax

Breaking news out of Doha: a trade ban on bluefin tuna (Appendix I listing) has been defeated. Although there were repeated calls from delegates from the E.U., U.S. and Monaco to allow time for parties to meet and arrive at a compromise position, a Libya delegate forced a preemptory vote on the E.U. proposal, which resulted in a 43 to 72 vote, with 14 abstaining. Monaco’s proposal obtained 20 to 68 and 30 abstaining.

The decision could spell the beginning of the end for the tigers of the sea.

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