Monitoring Trade in Large Marine Shells In and From Indonesia
Indonesia has a comprehensive system in place to protect large marine molluscs such as nautilus, horned helmet, false trumpet, and giant clams. These species are protected and cannot be traded, or, in the case of giant clams, only second-generation maricultured individuals can be sold internationally. Other species, such as the false trumpet, are not protected but their trade is regulated through a quota system, and with current quotas set at zero, no commercial trade in them is allowed. In practice, however, all these species are traded in large quantities, seemingly with impunity. Since 2012, we initiated a monitoring program in Java and Bali where we (1) record and quantify trade in the open wildlife markets; (2) keep track of the online wholesale trade in large marine shells; (3) locate seizure data and subsequent prosecutions and (4) liaise with stakeholders within and outside Indonesia to improve trade regulations and increase protection of large marine molluscs in Indonesian waters. Thus far we have recorded the trade in thousands of shells in the markets, 10,000s shells offered by wholesalers, and over 100,000 confiscated shells in over 20 separate seizures. Partially as a result of our efforts, proposals were prepared to include nautilus species on Appendix II of CITES to regulate international trade. We hope that this will lower the illegal exports of nautilus out of Indonesia, and that the international focus on nautilus can lead to better regulated trade in other species as well.
Keywords: Cassis, CITES, Nautilus, Southeast Asia, illegal wildlife trade.
Figure: Pangandaran, along the south coast of Java, Indonesia, where they offer large protected shells (in this case chambered nautilus) openly for sale (© Vincent Nijman).