The 15th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is taking place in Doha, Qatar's capital city.

Its aim is to regulate the international wildlife trade and ensure it remains at a sustainable level.
Some call them the Conservation Olympics - two weeks of debate and voting on trade in endangered animals.

Their mandate covers everything from rare Brazilian trees to the American bobcat -23,000 species come under the spotlight. 

The species that featured most heavily in the run up to this years conference is the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna.
It is fished in international waters with 80 per cent of it going to Japan - where it is considered a delicacy. But the numbers have fallen by 60 per cent in the last decade. 
Although there are regulations aimed at conserving Bluefin Tuna activists were calling on CITES to ban its trade.

But on Thursday's vote on the ban 68 out of 129 members voted against it - with 30 abstentions - so the proposal failed.

The conference is half way through and CITES has already been accused of not being strong enough - against well-funded lobbyists - to protect the endangered species it is charged with.

Who are the winners and losers? And are wholesale trade bans the best way to save our species?

Joining our programme are Will Travers, the chief executive officer of the Born Free Foundation, Charles Clover, a journalist and the author of the book The End of the Line, and Joern Pedrsen, an advisor of the Norwegian Fishermen's Association.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Sunday, March 21, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera