Conservationists were left fuming yesterday after a UN conference on endangered species failed to win protection for a single marine species. Asian nations, led by Japan, defeated efforts to restrict trade in coral, sharks, and bluefin tuna. The one species to be given protected status, the porbeagle shark, had its status revoked on the last day of the conference after Asian nations reopened debate.
Wildlife advocates blamed back-room deals for the failure to make any progress towards protecting species threatened by overfishing. "As soon as big money gets involved, the 's' of science is crossed out by two vertical stripes," the chief of the UN's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species told Reuters. "There is an enormous economic interest in catching and trading these species, and a CITES piece of paper is really a nuisance. " (Read more sharks stories.)