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AECO signs declaration to combat illegal wildlife trade

December 12, 2018 Association No Comments Email Email

The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) has signed the Travel and Tourism Declaration on Illegal Trade in Wildlife.

AECO is an industry association dedicated to managing responsible expedition cruise tourism in the Arctic. On December 7, the Association signed the Buenos Aires Declaration, which states that signatories cannot knowingly facilitate the carriage or sale of illegally traded wildlife products.

According to Executive Director Frigg Jørgensen, signing the Buenos Aires Declaration is a natural step for AECO.

“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. Signing this declaration reaffirms our dedication to showing the utmost consideration of the natural environment in all aspects of operations,” says Jørgensen.

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.

“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,” says Jørgensen.

AECO has additional guidelines in place to protect Arctic nature. Guests travelling 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.

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