From SealAlert-SA
Date August 11, 2006 1:02:32 PM GMT+01:00

IT just gets worse - Francois.

----- Original Message -----
From: SealAlert-SA
Sent: Friday, August 11, 2006 1:53 PM
Subject: CITES - Illegal Trade of seals

Dear Mr Seller,
      I understand.
      I did it only in order to illustrate to you the position CITES is placing Seal Alert-SA into. Each day Namibia continues with its "illegal" sealing policy, (as it bashes seals to pieces) and if CITES Secretariat is unable to address or stop this 100% sealing quota - who then do I report this to?
      Who do I charge for this mismanagement, whilst sealers swing away and bash an entire generation of cohorts protected pups to death - needlessly?
          Namibia's - CITES 'Review of Significant Trade'.
These comment from CITES was received by one of my supporters on the 8th August 2006 - "Thanks for your message and apologies for the delay in replying. The Secretariat monitors the implementation of the Convention in its 169 Parties (reviewing legislation, levels of trade, illegal trade, annual reports, etc) but Namibia has not been identify as a priority country for attention under the different mechanisms established by the Conference of the Parties. Accordingly, the CITES bodies has not adopted any decision recommending a suspension of commercial trade in specimens of CITES-listed species with that country".
   In our communication the other day, you appeared to confirm something similar, after Namibia was placed on a Review of Significant trade. You stated and I quote, "Namibia was given a 'clean bill of health' their exports were not detrimental".
   Sealers have bashed their way through to reducing the seal population, to levels last seen in 1982, and after 1972 - there is no population records left. 98% of their former endemic islands remain extinct. 
   Do you see how illogical the comment is from CITES above ?
   You state reference to the Committees findings will be contained in 20th meeting of the Animals Committee. I have gone through both.
In the CITES January 2004 - Review of Significant Trade - Analysis of Trade Trends:
   It contains conservation comments primarily from a website of the Seal Conservation Society - 2001, (which is no longer operational, and which this information is extremely poor) (for a detailed CITES 'Trade Analysis'). The CITES enclosed chart lists no real exports, otherthan skins - when every part of this species requires an export permit in this 100% internationally traded wildlife industry - such as genitals, carcases, oil, meal etc. It ends with a Comment : "recommended for a review to determine sustainability of trade" - based on the export in 2002 of 117 400 skins on a sealing quota of 60 000.
In the CITES 20th Meeting of the Animals Committee - Review of Significant Trade - in April 2004:(three months later)
    In its conservation status report prepared by TRAFFIC and IUCN/SSC (world conservation union - headed by former Minister of South Africa Valli Moosa) it contains information, as pointed out in my email dated 10th August, Trade in Seals, that it is in fact scientifically false and a complete misrepresentation of the facts. As pointed out in the publicly available scientific findings of Dr Jean-Paul Roux, head of Namibian Fisheries Ministry for Mammals in 1998 - that the allegation must be that this report is or has been "fraudulently prepared" - what other excuse is there? Particularly the release of Dr Burger Oelofsen's press release in 2000, and the complete omission of the information contained therein. The review ends - "Namibia has not notified the CITES Secretariat of an export quota for this taxon. An explanation from Namibia regarding the large increase in exports in 2002 would assist the Animals Committee in determining whether or not this species should be selected for a Review of Significant Trade".
    Was this not a Review of Significant Trade - to determine exactly this? Why would the Animals Committee want another one? and then you tell me Namibia was given the all clear in the 20th Review of Significant Trade?
     Do you now see how illogical the CITES statement is on the 8th, just 3 days ago.
     Do you further see how confusing this all is, and if I may say so incompetent - I thought Namibia was placed in January for a review. The review took place in April 2004. How then can a review end acknowledging, the need for another review on the exact same concerns;
That Namibia had exported 117 409 skins in 2002 without a CITES international trading permit - making all these skins illegally exported, and
Namibia's sealing regulations require the whole carcass to be used, where are the export permits for the rest of the carcass and all its export uses, excluding the identified skins - therefore these were all illegally exported and traded internationally.
    What did CITES Secretariat do about all these illegal trade in exports - nothing, instead gave out larger export permits ?
After all these emails to yourself, and urgent requests to intervene to stop this 100% sealing pup quota that is a scientific fact is detrimental to the species, and will be a complete waste of an entire generation of cohorts of pups, already suffering from at least five major mass die-off's and where at least two whole generations of cohorts have been wiped out in just the last 8-years, and which CITES cannot grant any legal export permits for - you keep me on a "string", and then inform me - not in writing but telephonically, that the Animals Committee review of Namibia found nothing detrimental in their 117 409 export on a 60 000 annual TAC quota.
     If this is not complete incompetence on the part of the Animals Committee - what is?
     Why should a South African importer be arrested, criminally charged, convicted, receiving a fine and a prison sentence - from just two batches of skins illegally imported from A Brink one of only two sealers in Namibia for 135 and 30 skins - and the CITES Management Authority and the Animals Committee allow hundreds of thousands of seal skins and seal products to be exported around the world internationally - and get off scott free?
     Why was A Brink and his partners not charged in the RSA 2003 conviction, the 2002 US seizure, the 117 000 illegal skin exports, the 1999 and 1998 illegal exports - in fact for all the illegal exports since 1990, maybe even longer?
     I remind you of your email dated the 10th August 2006 - "I have been advised that the CITES authorities were not previously aware of the seizures that you say occurred in South Africa and the United States of America. Now that this has been brought to their attention, they will look into the matter".
    What does this mean? They are the alleged guilty ones here ? 
    It was not I who alleged it - it is fact - It appeared on US NOAA fisheries website as a press release on the 26 June 2002 and on the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism website on the 21 February 2003. (attached are copies).
    Is the CITES Management Authority in Namibia and the Animals Committee is claiming that they were not aware that in;
In 1998 when CITES lists that only 5 860 seal skins or products were legally exported - Namibian Fishery Exports lists show that 30 000 seal skins were exported at a value of N$4.2 million or that
In 1999 that only 2 124 skins were listed by CITES as legal exports, whereas Namibian Fishery exports for 1999 - show 25 161 seal skins or products was exported at a value of N$3.5 million.

Why did the Animals Committee not review these illegal exports in their "Review of Significant Trade".
What kind of investigation is CITES Secretariat running - when it sends my "alleging emails" to the CITES Management Authority who might in the end either need to be fired or criminally charged?
Whilst CITES Secretariat blunders along,
Sealers who should have "criminally charged and convicted" long ago - are swinging and bashing away at an entire generation of cohort of protected Appendix II CITES pups - with CITES blessing.
Are you aware that in 1999 - Minister of Fisheries Abraham Iyambo was investigated by the Namibian Ombudswomen Bience Gawanas for receiving a N$140 000 donation from the fishing industry for his millennium wedding? (see attached)
How on earth does CITES explain - how EU and the whole former and current sealing world has banned the import or harvest of "nursing seal pups in birthing and breeding grounds" of Harp and Hooded seals a CITES Appendix III species - but because of CITES incompetence in granting "no detrimental export permits to Namibia - for its nursing baby seals" - circumnavigates the rest of the world's legal systems - and forces the EU to import 1.2 million euros worth Cape fur seal skins in 2004 alone - on an Appendix II - CITES listed species?
I have asked CITES to end this Seal Hunt immediately.
Failure to do so - will force Seal Alert-SA to hold all those responsible.
End this hunt - now.
Please confirm - Who I can report this to if CITES Secretariat does not end this Namibian Seal Slaughter - today?
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA 

----- Original Message -----
From: John SELLAR
Sent: Friday, August 11, 2006 9:32 AM
Subject: Re: CITES - Illegal Trade of seals

Dear Mr Hugo,

I confirm receipt of your message.  

As indicated in our previous conversations and messages, the CITES Secretariat awaits a detailed response to your allegations from the CITES Management Authority of Namibia.  Each of your messages has been copied to the authorities in Namibia.  Your messages contain considerable detail and you make your position on this matter very clear.  

It is the role of the Secretariat to react to allegations that are made to us regarding violation of, or non-compliance with, the Convention. That is what we have done in this case.  However, your recent messages can perhaps best be described as 'lobbying' as opposed to the supply of information. I would ask you to please restrict any further messages to the supply of relevant additional new information. I do so in keeping with previous statements by the Secretary-General of CITES in relation to communication with the staff of the Secretariat.

Yours sincerely,


11/08/2006 08:06 AM


CITES - Illegal Trade of seals