AECO signs declaration to combat illegal wildlife trade

Travelers from Hurtigruten's Fram shop for souvenirs from Uummannaq in Greenland, Buying products harvested locally and produced legally is OK, however a permit may be required for export Travelers from Hurtigruten's Fram shop for souvenirs from Uummannaq in Greenland, Buying products harvested locally and produced legally is OK, however a permit may be required for export PHOTO: Mads Pihl/Visit Greenland

The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators signed the Buenos Aires Declaration, which states that signatories cannot knowingly facilitate the carriage or sale of illegally traded wildlife products.

'Our members are subject to a strict non-disturbance principle when it comes to wildlife and AECO operators actively support wildlife protection through education, wildlife-sighting programs and contributions to science and conservation societies,' AECO executive director Frigg Jørgensen said. 'Signing this declaration reaffirms our dedication to showing the utmost consideration of the natural environment in all aspects of operations.'

Declaration covers trade illegal under CITES

The Declaration on Illegal Trade in Wildlife covers wildlife products, where the trade in those products is contrary to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and, as such, is illegal under international laws.

AECO has committed to a zero-tolerance policy regarding illegal trade in wildlife products and encourages visitors to the Arctic to support local communities by buying legal and sustainable products.

Buying locally made products is OK but export permit may be needed

'For millennia, people in the Arctic have harvested animals and plants to produce food, clothing and artisanal goods. This includes fur products, carved bones and tusks, and local foods such as meat and fish. Buying locally made products generates income for the community and can contribute to upholding local craft traditions. When buying animal or plant products, it is important to make sure that they have been harvested and produced legally. In some cases, you will also need a permit to export the product,' Jørgensen said.

AECO has additional guidelines in place to protect Arctic nature. Travelers with AECO operators are not permitted to collect stones, bones, antlers, driftwood, flowers, plants and other items from nature. However, purchasing local souvenirs and products is encouraged.

Posted 10 December 2018

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review