HC Deb 14 October 1991 vol 196 cc13-4W
Mr. Tredinnick

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he can announce the outcome of the study of the wildlife trade by the joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Royal Botanic gardens, Kew.

Mr. Baldry

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee submitted its report on 31 July, and copies are available in the library of the House. The Royal Botanic gardens, Kew has just submitted a report which reaches similar general conclusions and makes detailed recommendations on plants. We will make this available as soon as possible.

The JNCC's report gives unequivocal support for the convention on international trade in endangered species of the wild fauna and flora—CITES—which is the foundation for the conservation controls on trade throughout the European Community and most of the rest of the world. The committee has made some wide-ranging recommendations for the tightening the present controls— these deserve scrutiny throughout the European Community and beyond.

The Government share the concern that has been expressed not only about the possible effects of trade on wild populations, but about the conditions in which animals—especially birds—are transported. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has already been pressing hard for improvements in transport conditions on a Community basis.

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and I have therefore written to the European Commission today, urging it to propose that the Community takes steps to:

—strengthen measures to prevent illegal trade in endangered species and to ensure that specimens of the species are used to bring conservation benefits;—make more systematic checks on the effects of trade in species whose survival might become threatened to ensure that it continues only at sustainable levels;—monitor trade in more species;—make sure that appropriate care is taken of all species on CITES;— strictly control trade in any species which are particularly vulnerable to stress and mortality as a result of transport and captivity.