China Watch Blog reports WWF-Hong Kong welcomes the Hong Kong government’s initiative to extend the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to Hong Kong, by regulating the import and re-export of toothfish (commonly known as ‘Chilean Sea Bass’) inhabiting the Antarctic water.
Dr Allen To, Senior Conservation Officer, Footprint makes the following statements with respect to this latest law-making process:
China is a member of the CCAMLR, however, the Convention has not been extended to Hong Kong yet. This creates a loophole where businesses can import and trade toothfish through Hong Kong to other parts of the world. Since 2010, WWF has been calling on the government to consider acceding to the convention. If the convention is implemented comprehensively and effectively in Hong Kong, it will steer Hong Kong away from tacitly supporting Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) toothfish fisheries in Antarctic waters, move towards improved seafood traceability and inspire Hong Kong citizens and businesses to help drive the long-term sustainable use of the world’s ocean resources.
Stopping IUU toothfish fisheries
As a significant global trading port, Hong Kong can play a crucial part in stopping IUU toothfish fisheries, which have been operating for more than a decade, despite the CCAMLR’s attempts to control the trade. These IUU fisheries have compromised the effective management of toothfish resources in Antarctica as well as posing threats to by-catch species such as seabirds and sharks.
Although the amount of toothfish consumed was less than 0.5 per cent of total consumption of seafood in Hong Kong; the amount imported into Hong Kong is significant – 1,017 tonnes, which represented 6.5 per cent of the total volume of toothfish exported by Contracting Parties to the CCAMLR in 2013. Because of this substantial trade volume, Hong Kong has a vital role to play in ensuring that only legally-caught toothfish can enter Hong Kong.
WWF will closely monitor the progress of the legislation through LegCo, and continue to urge the government to establish a comprehensive and effective legislation framework to implement CCAMLR in Hong Kong as soon as possible.