Target: Kevin Shea, Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service with the United States Department of Agriculture
Goal: Ban the import of threatened nautilus sea creatures which is contributing to the species’ demise
The United States imports more than 100,000 nautilus shells every year, or a total of 500,000 between 2006 and 2010. Professor Peter Ward at the University of Adelaide in Australia is one of many experts pushing to include the nautilus on the Endangered Species List. As Ward says, “There is no sustainable fishery for nautilus possible anywhere.”
There is also very little protection–especially in international trade–for these beautiful mollusks. They are found only in the Indo-Pacific region of the world, and research conducted in heavily-fished areas of Asia has found nautilus populations decimated. Despite warnings against the over-harvesting of nautilus species by Ward and his colleagues, none show up on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. The most recent attempt to list nautilus in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendices failed.
Ward was one of the nautilus experts informing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in a meeting this June on how the nautilus is faring during a worldwide epidemic of over fishing. Thanks to meetings like these the chance is much greater that nautilus species will be added to the endangered list at the next CITES meeting in 2016. The question is whether we can afford to continue fishing and importing this dwindling population at the current rate until then.
Urge the Department of Agriculture to immediately ban imports of these threatened sea creatures in order to prevent their extinction.
Dear Mr. Shea,
Nautilus populations are dwindling rapidly due to an insatiable international demand for their shells and meat. The possibility of adding them to the CITES Appendices will be a topic of the next meeting in 2016. Until then these mollusks will be virtually defenseless and stand a chance of becoming extinct. Australia, the only country with protections for them in place, has difficulty doing its part as the mollusks aren’t internationally protected.
We cannot afford to lose hundreds of thousands of nautilus while we wait for them to be protected as an endangered species. Some 100,000 nautilus are imported every year into the United States alone, and this has directly contributed to the creatures’ decline.
I urge you to halt the importation of nautilus into the U.S. to slow the unabated fishing of these threatened and beautiful mollusks.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Lee R Berger via Wikimedia Commons