- Belgium, China, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Georgia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Namibia, and Poland support the proposal.
- Earth Ocean Farms’ historical achievement will strengthen the totoaba.
- The CITES decision opens opportunities to other UMAs to promote conservation aquaculture.
Mexico City. March 10, 2022. Today, by majority vote, at the 74th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Committee endorsed Mexico’s proposal to register the first aquaculture farm, Earth Ocean Farms (EOF), to allow international trade in farmed totoaba meat.
Pablo Konietzko, CEO of EOF, located in La Paz, BCS, welcomed the decision made by the CITES Standing Committee. “Aquaculture is a method to ensure the non-extinction of the totoaba. At EOF we have complied with all the requirements requested by the Convention. The CITES decision allows us to consolidate the regional economy of the Baja California peninsula, boosting an important international market with a sustainable approach. In addition, it opens the door to other Wildlife Conservation Units (UMA) that comply with the requirements requested. EOF is part of the solution for the conservation of the species. We support their repopulation and have released close to 150,000 juvenile totoabas in the Sea of Cortés and studies have proven that the released individuals have managed to survive.”
“Committee members such as Brazil, Canada, Indonesia and Kuwait pointed out that the application of EOF solved the requirements and observations of other Committee members on traceability and risk reduction by concentrating only on meat, and therefore supported Mexico’s proposal. Later, the EU representatives expressed their willingness to work with Mexico to take care of trade and traceability processes.“
Representatives of the Committee indicated that the issue of illegal trade in totoaba swim bladders and the legal trade in meat from aquaculture farms should be evaluated independently. Although they are related issues, by eliminating totoaba swim bladders, Mexico and EOF are demonstrating their commitment to sustainable and fully traceable trade, separated from the illegally demanded product.
The approval is interpreted as an important step for Mexico, strengthening the conservation strategy through the sustainable farming of marine species. After four years of constructive dialogue, we are proud to be part of the solution and contribute to the construction of a legal alternative to international trade, promoting the conservation of the species. In addition, EOF has corporate social responsibility practices through which it will promote the projects of NGOs focused on the economic and social development of the communities of the Upper Gulf, concluded Konietzko.
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