Trade-&-Policy

Group Facilitators: Jonathan Kolby and Alejandra Goyenechea

ASG Secretariat Lead Contact: Ariadne Angulo (aangulo[at]amphibians.org)

Current Priority Actions

The following are immediate priorities identified by the Trade & Policy Working Group. These actions are expected to change as progress is made in addressing the underlying issues.

Major Constraints To Effective ConservationMid-term Priorities (1–5 years)Short-term Targets (6–12 months)
SCIENCE
Critical gaps in basic knowledge about traded amphibians, such as:

- Methods to differentiate amphibians that were collected from the wild versus those that were bred in captivity

- In wild populations, methods to differentiate different morphs (to ensure that morphs from elsewhere are not being illegally traded)

- Monitoring the magnitude and impact of current trade volumes on amphibians collected from the wild

- The effect of disease events on wild populations of traded amphibians

- Presence of emerging pathogens in the international amphibian trade

- Precise points of origin for wild amphibians in trade

- Trade routes (animals may be smuggled illegally from one country to another then legally exported elsewhere from second country)

- Species have not been identified for CITES listings

- The additive effects of trade on populations that are experiencing population declines due to other factors (e.g. disease)
Update research priorities annuallyDevelop section of amphibians.org where research priorities can be presented to the public and a listserv to facilitate discussion of priorities among group members
Facilitate development of resources (e.g. pictorial guides) that can help law enforcement officers identify whether trade policies have been violatedIdentify potential subject matter experts
Develop fund to support emergency pathogen surveillance in traded amphibiansIdentify potential donors for fund
Identify species that warrant targeted disease surveillance to evaluate the presence of specific emerging pathogens in traded amphibiansi. Facilitate collaborations between researchers, the public, government, and policy-makers

ii. Produce a list of high priority species for targeted disease surveillance and their trade routes
Assess whether trade restrictions intended to prevent population declines via unsustainable harvest have led to population recovery (and/or identify whether data exists)i. Identify amphibian species previously subject to high trade volumes that were subsequently governed by specific trade quotas

ii. Identify and contact experts on the species above to assess whether there are recent field population data
Evaluate the life history and/or reproductive traits of commonly traded "captive bred" species to determine whether commercial-scale breeding is likelyi. Identify amphibian species commonly traded in high volumes as "bred in captivity"

ii. Identify species that are more likely to be wild-harvested and monitor trade

iii. Identify and contact husbandry experts on the above species to enquire about their life histories being conducive to commercial-scale breeding
Produce a database with known and documented points of origin (collection localities) for all species listed in CITESResearch available publications and trade documentation and compile an initial list of species and points of origin
Identify those genera and species listed in CITES which could potentially comprise species complexes and engage with taxonomists specializing in these groups to assess the potential distribution of cryptic forms and whether they would be at risk from tradei. Identify and contact taxonomic experts on species listed in CITES and work to produce a list of potential target species

ii. Of the target species, assess whether there are particular areas of their distribution that may contain forms which could be most vulnerable to trade (via points of origin collections) and may be at risk of extirpation
Engage with local experts to investigate whether commercial collection may contribute towards the extirpation or extinction of amphibians already in decline from other pressures (e.g. Fire salamanders and Bsal)Identify regions where amphibian disease events have contributed to population decline, but commercial harvest may be occurring
TRADE
Lack of supporting documentation for the effect of trade volumes on wild populations, specifically:

- Quota systems for "sustainable" harvest are issued following the identification of "unsustainable" harvest

- Quota systems being voluntary in nature and not informed by science

- CITES listings being applied to species level (App I or App II)
Support the development of amphibian species proposals for CITES CoP 17 and prepare documentation to request that quotas are supported by scienceConvene a meeting with international amphibian experts to identify species that may warrant proposal for CITES listing at the next CoP
Facilitate integration and data sharing by academics, NGOs, government agencies and wildlife managers actively working to mitigate the spread of infectious disease through amphibian trade through a dedicated symposium or workshopAssist ASA's urgent effort to prevent the introduction of Bsal into the USA through the salamander import trade by encouraging the USFWS to establish an import moratorium
Lack of industry & public awareness for the need to:

- Employ biosecurity measures in trade facilities to mitigate the spread of disease

- Encourage captive breeding of amphibians to relieve pressure on wild populations

- Prevent release of exotic amphibians into the wild

- Prevent the untreated disposal of amphibian husbandry waste from households into the environment

- Educate local communities and other stakeholders on the impact of trade on their local amphibian populations
i. Develop outreach material to provide to amphibian traders and buyers and also amphibian collectors

ii. Work with responsible and legitimate amphibian breeders to disseminate awareness-raising materials related to biosecurity, ethical sourcing of amphibians and conservation priorities
Facilitate input of disease experts into the development of best management practices
POLICY
Absence of international data recording mechanisms which leads to lack of data necessary to evaluate threats to amphibians from unsustainable trade (trade in non-protected species is only recorded by the USA)Encourage countries to record and report trade volumes in non-CITES-listed amphibian speciesEngage in discussion with World Customs Organization to create codes specific to amphibians
Lack of regulations to mitigate pathogen introduction to the USA and elsewhere via amphibian importationFacilitate data sharing and brainstorming between academics, NGOs, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and government agencies to develop amphibian health certification platforms and disease risk analysis and surveillance systems for potential application to the amphibian trade through a dedicated symposium or workshopEngage in discussions with USFWS regarding the need for policies that reduce the threat of pathogen introduction via the international amphibian trade

ACAP related chapters

Chapter 5. Over-harvesting (A. I. Carpenter, H. Dublin, M. Lau, G. Syed, J. E. McKay and R. D. Moore).

Read the whole ACAP here.