Quotas

Limiting the number of fish being exported from any source country is another way of reducing or limiting collecting pressure. Quotas are only likely to be effective if based on rigorous scientific research and implemented at a species-specific level6. Although relatively simple and easily enforced, general quotas are not advisable as they may simply encourage collectors to focus collection on the most valuable species, hence not ensuring protection of stocks overall and least so of vulnerable species6. Species-specific quotas such as those stipulated for butterflyfishes, angelfishes and giant Caribbean anemones under the Florida Administrative Code43 ensure that collection activities are maintained at sustainable levels and that a healthy population remains on the reef. Unfortunately, the difficulties of a species-specific quota system lie in identifying species to which such a system should apply, which requires detailed knowledge of their life histories, recruitment patterns, the aereal extent of exploitation as well as species densities on the reef90. This is compounded by the fact that such quotas need to be developed on a country-by-country basis6.

Although there is no specific requirement within the text of CITES to establish quotas to limit the trade in listed species, the use of export quotas has become an effective tool for the regulation of international trade. Export quotas are usually set by each member state individually, but they can also be set by the Conference of the Parties, and they generally relate to a calendar year (1 January to 31 December). Before any Party can issue a permit to allow export of specimens of species in Annex II, the scientific authority of the state must advise that the proposed export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species (the so-called non-detriment finding). In order to help make sure that export quotas are not exceeded, export permits should indicate the number of specimens already exported in the current year and the quota for the species concerned223.

Indonesia has implemented a quota system for the collection of stony corals based on available information on rates of growth, recruitment, distribution and abundance of coral species7. The management plan for coral harvesting also includes a system of rotational harvests including no-take zones. However, in practice, quotas for coral species are based on very limited data, making it difficult to determine whether there is any basis for regarding these quotas as sustainable. As a result of this, the EU expressed concern at the potential

Lined butterflyfish, Chaetodon íineoíatus.

Lined butterflyfish, Chaetodon íineoíatus.

Eritrean butterflyfish, Chaetodon paucifasciatus.

Grape/bubble coral, Plerogyra spp.

Eritrean butterflyfish, Chaetodon paucifasciatus.

Grape/bubble coral, Plerogyra spp.

unsustainability of current export volumes and its CITES Scientific Review Group has temporarily banned the import of a number of coral species into the EU until Indonesia can demonstrate that collection according to the set quotas is indeed not contributing to reef degradation.

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