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PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40907. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040907. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

Testing the effectiveness of an international conservation agreement: marketplace forensics and CITES caviar trade regulation.

Author information

1
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, United States of America. pdoukakis@ucsd.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The international wildlife trade is a key threat to biodiversity. Temporal genetic marketplace monitoring can determine if wildlife trade regulation efforts such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are succeeding. Protected under CITES effective 1997, sturgeons and paddlefishes, the producers of black caviar, are flagship CITES species.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We test whether CITES has limited the amount of fraudulent black caviar reaching the marketplace. Using mitochondrial DNA-based methods, we compare mislabeling in caviar and meat purchased in the New York City area pre and post CITES listing. Our recent sampling of this market reveals a decrease in mislabeled caviar (2006-2008; 10%; n = 90) compared to pre-CITES implementation (1995-1996; 19%; n = 95). Mislabeled caviar was found only in online purchase (n = 49 online/41 retail).

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

Stricter controls on importing and exporting as per CITES policies may be having a positive conservation effect by limiting the amount of fraudulent caviar reaching the marketplace. Sturgeons and paddlefishes remain a conservation priority, however, due to continued overfishing and habitat degradation. Other marine and aquatic species stand to benefit from the international trade regulation that can result from CITES listing.

PMID:
22848410
PMCID:
PMC3405056
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0040907
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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