CITES - Illegal Trade of seals

----- Original Message -----
From: SealAlert-SA
To: John.Sellar@cites.org
Sent: Friday, August 11, 2006 8:06 AM

Dear Mr Seller,
 
    I refer to my email below. Please consider the following - I need an answer today - please.
 
    The 2006 Seal Pup quota will kill 100% of the pups still alive from July 1 (this is scientific fact). The sealing quota on pups cannot go any higher - it is logically impossible. It is therefore detrimental to the survival of the species.
 
     If Sealing in Namibia has not been "detrimental to the survival of the species" your Appendix II criteria - and yardstick required to issue International Trade permits - when why is the seal population lower than it was in 1982. How low must it go before you understand the mismanagement going on here? How soon before the population dips below the first official survey in 1972 - and then where will we be?
 
     CITES Secretariat knows it cannot issue international trade permits on the 2006 seal pup harvest. So what will these sealers be forced to do, in order to protect their commercial investment? They will be forced to export illegally. As head of CITES Anti-smuggling, Fraud and Organized Crime - you are creating a "breeding ground for this illegal environment" - the longer it goes on - the greater then will be the need to smuggle and export all those skins illegally. Can you not see this?
 
     Can you not see in your position, as "preventor" of illegal smuggling and illegal exports for the United Nations of the world - that you are actually "rubber-stamping" and have done since 1977 - the illegal (trade) killing of nursing seal pups - that the rest of the world between 1972 - 1990 - says is illegal and criminal - but granting these export permits to Namibia?
 
UN and CITES is supposed to "control" the world in such activities - yet, here we have the world saying its "illegal and criminal" and CITES says it is not?
What do you think the implications of the US seizure in 2002 and the RSA criminal conviction in 2003 - is with regard to CITES allowing these exports from Namibia (It is no excuse considering it was publicly released in the media and on government websites) - it changes nothing that CITES is investigating - it simply proves it should never have been allowed in the first place?
How does CITES come to terms that "legal or illegal CITES permitted seal skin exports" are seized as illegal imports in the US?
How does CITES come to terms that the EU bans all imports or trade in nursing baby seals of Harp and Hooded seals (Appendix III species) - but CITES forces these EU countries to trade in nursing baby Appendix II species - 1.2 million euros worth in a single year?
 
If this is not (fraud, smuggling and organised crime) supported by CITES themselves in this case - then what is?
 
Please, Mr Seller - this needs to end today. Think of the ramifications to yourself,  and to CITES.
It has to stop today.
 
Please confirm.
 
Francois.
 
----- Original Message -----
From: John SELLAR
To: sasealion@wam.co.za
Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2006 3:11 PM
Subject: Re: Trade in seals


Dear Mr Hugo,

I confirm receipt of your message.  I shall provide a copy to the CITES Management Authority of Namibia.

All documents relating to the Animals Committee can be found on our website:

http://www.cites.org/eng/com/AC/index.shtml

Whilst I await further information from Namibia, I have been advised that the CITES authorities were not previously aware of the seizures that you say occurred in South Africa and the United States of America. Now that this has been brought to their attention, they will look into the matter.

Yours sincerely,
----- Original Message -----
From: SealAlert-SA
To: John.Sellar@cites.org
Sent: Friday, August 11, 2006 6:28 AM
Subject: Calling all UK & EU Seal Supporters - Blast CITES & EU !

Last 'Starving' Baby Seal Slaughter on Earth
unknown unknown
starving baby seal pups about to be clubbed  -   a mother mourns her deep bonded 'clubbed to death' baby seal loss

 
     Cape fur Seals became a protected species in 1973 and in 1977, an Appendix II species with the United Nations Convention in the Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).
 
     In 1972 the US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) banned the import of Cape fur seals, as it contravened their regulations, which states that the "taking of a nursing pup in a birthing and breeding colony" is illegal and cruel. Over 90% of the Cape fur seal slaughter since its 'protection' in 1973 - has involved 'millions' nursing baby seals. CITES has been regulating the international trade in Cape fur seals since 1977 (if this makes any sense). In 1983, a European Communities Directive binding on all members states came into force. It prohibited the import of the skins, raw or processed, of 'nursing' harp seal pups (whitecoats) and 'nursing' hooded pup seals (bluebacks). In 1987 the Malouf Report findings in the Royal Commission on Seals and Sealing  states that "nursing baby seals" should not be commercial harvested or traded in at any stage anywhere. In 1987 the Canadian DFO introduced regulations that banned the hunting of 'nursing' harp seal pups (whitecoats) and 'nursing' hooded seal pups (bluebacks). Marine Mammal Regulations now prohibit the trade, sale or barter of the fur of these pups. Furthermore, seals cannot be harvested when they are in breeding or birthing grounds. 
 
    There is a contradiction here. A CITES contradiction !
 
     Between July 1 and November 15 - 85 000 nursing baby Cape fur seal pups weighing less than 15 kg each will be rounded up with their mother's on two desert mainland colonies and clubbed to death as they attempt to flee (with their mother's) back to the safety of the sea.
 
     The trade in these 'nursing baby seal skins or parts' would be illegal anywhere else in the world - and if one attempted to do so - would be criminally charged and imprisoned - except in the 'eyes' of the CITES Secretariat.
 
     As the two sealing concession holders in Namibia has been getting away with 'Baby Seal Murder' since Namibia's independence - they together with their foreign business partner in 1997 decided to invest N$2.5 million into a 'nursing baby seal processing plant' at Henties Bay. Prior to this USD $400 000 investment - these sealers made it quite clear they would be seeking ever increasing 'nursing' baby seal quotas to ensure success of their private investment.
 
    At the time of this investment their quota was 30 000. Within less than 10-years - it is now 85 000. Even though in the last decade the Cape fur seals have experienced no less than five major die-off's from starvation - where in 2006, the seal population is 27% lower than in 1993, 13-years ago.
 
    These sealers are clearly determined to wipe-out this five-million year old species - in their never ending greed to return the profits on their investment. Already they have succeeded in reducing the seal population to 27% below what it was in 1993. Already the seal population is lower than it was in 1982. How long before it will be lower than the first 'known' population survey in 1972.
 
    Do we as responsible citizens simply just allow this genocide of a species to continue - right before our eyes !
 
    The Namibian Fisheries Minister has stated that under the Constitution these Cape fur seals can endure a 'sustainable harvest of their living natural resources' of 30% of the pup population born each year. In 2006 - the Sealing quotas is 100% of the pups still alive by July 1. For the sealers to reach their quota (which they have never reached) they need to 'swing and club' their way through 630 nursing baby seals everyday - already 25 830 nursing baby seals have been slaughtered.
 
    Although this was pointed out to CITES Animals Committee members via email during their Peru Meeting 7-13 July - CITES states that they cant intervene and stop it.
 
    Even though the CITES Convention on Trade of an Appendix II species states - "An export order may be issued only if the specimen was legally obtained and if the export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species" - knowing full well that CITES will not be able to issue 'export permits' for this 100% exported Namibian 'nursing baby seal' Sealing industry for 2006 - CITES still says they cant stop it.
 
   Knowing full well - that this "international trade in an endangered species" - all 91 000 nursing 'living natural resources' of Cape fur seal pups will now have to be simply discarded, thrown away - dumped or traded illegally - CITES still will not stop it.
 
   Even though I am in direct communication with John Seller of the Anti-smuggling, Fraud and Organised Crime section head of the CITES Secretariat - he says, he cant stop it.  
 
   There is a very real 'mismanagement' problem here - Just because CITES has been awarding annual export permits to Namibian to trade in endangered seals, does not necessarily make it legal - in fact it is not.
 
   Not in the 'economically' driven US or sealing countries of Canada, Greenland, Norway or Russia or the entire EU - is the "commercial" taking and slaughter of 'nursing baby seals in birthing and breeding colonies' considered illegal - except at the United Nations - Convention in the Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).
 
  CITES must STOP this foolishness and irresponsible mismanagement right now - demand that they do so (www.cites.org). The people in-charge of this travesty is the CITES Secretariat. 
 
  Write to your European Communities Directive - and ask them why - the EU imported 1.2 million Euros worth of 'nursing baby Cape fur seal skins' in 2004 of a more endangered Appendix II species - but bans and considers it illegal to trade or import 'baby fur skins' from Harp or Hooded seal pups, an Appendix III species ?
 
   and if you cant do that - do what Save our Seals (UK) is doing, stage a protest and write to the media. (see below for further details)
 
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
 
 
Namibian Seal Slaughter Protest
Namibian High Commission
Tuesday 15th August
 
Over 600 seal pups will be slaughtered today in Namibia - and each and every day until November.
 
Please join this protest outside the Namibian High Commission, 6 Chandos Street, London W1G 9LU 
 
This is the second largest slaughter of seals anywhere in the world.  It has rightfully been called the cruellest, by the ex-director of IFAW South Africa, due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of seals killed are nursing pups.  Namibia is the only country in the world to still allow the slaughter of pups who are still suckling on their mothers.
 
Please join this protest, which will include a visual display of  demonstrators (who have already volunteered), 'stripped and bleeding', in a symbolic representation of the seal pups and adult males, who have been needlessly slaughtered. 
 
We need as many people as possible to attend this protest, to hold placards and hand out leaflets.  A press release is being circulated. Please make every effort to join this protest.
 
Placards and leaflets provided.
 
Contact for the day:  0709 2881 386
 
Meet:  Bond Street tube (main entrance - Oxford St) @ 11.30 a.m.
 
We will wait until 11.40.  After this time, please go straight to the High Commission
 
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=528806&Y=181550&A=Y&Z=1


Save The Seals (UK)
PO Box 5707
Southend-on-Sea
Essex
SS1 1WW
 
Tel: 0709 2881 386

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