[Taxacom] Collecting Samples From Another Country

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Mon Jul 18 20:36:23 CDT 2011

"I don't believe Donat's claim that permitting requirements are to
prevent bioprospecting is accurate; "

it is not about preventing bioprospecting but make sure that benefits from
bioprospecting are shared. it is not just about filling in a permit but
make sure that the origin of derivatives of genes etc are declared and
with that the recenues can be shared. Our specimens are in this collateral
dammage, because this aimes mainly at gene level. for us in the
collections it would mean, that it is easy to found out which holotype has
been collected with what permission, and whether it has been deposited in
the agreed institution.

Even smugglers are only partially in the scope of ABS, this is not the
market the politicans and diplomats looked at when they negotiated the
Also it is a common misundestanding of the CBD: The North thought about
conservation, the South about money, access to resources, not least
through their colonial history.


> Frank Krell wrote:
>>Fabian wrote:
>>"In any case, I think its fair to assume that you need a collection
>>permit everywhere you go these days. Even in your home countries. And
>>there is no way around it!"
>>I wonder how and why this happened.
>>I also wonder whether it helps to protect and maintain populations
>>of specimens to be collected, or whether it helps local researchers
>>anywhere, or whether it promotes scientific endeavor and progress in
>>any way that I fail to recognize.
>>So what is the good of this development?
> In principle, the only beneficial effect of this is to give a legal
> "stick" with which to smack smugglers and poachers. If it were legal
> to collect everywhere without permits, then there would be no penalty
> for people who wanted to set up large-scale commercial enterprises
> (regardless of economic or ecological impact). I have no doubt that
> even for insects such a market would flourish, given how many "insect
> collectors" there are in the world who do not physically go out and
> collect insects, but simply buy and trade for them.
> Evidently it is believed by administrators creating the regulations
> that (1) typical collectors are ethical individuals who will
> dutifully file for permits, thus giving the administrators some idea
> as to who is collecting what, where, and when (which, if true, would
> conceivably be helpful in managing one's natural resources), but I
> suspect that this is a rather naive expectation, and (2) that the
> only things people collect are vertebrates and rare plants, or other
> taxa that can be easily identified to species. The end result is that
> scientists - who are bound by granting agencies to follow all
> pertinent protocol - are the ones most adversely affected, especially
> adverse when the regulations are (as all too often is the case)
> written for vertebrates and extended to things like insects without
> modification (the most common being the requirement to list how many
> specimens, and of exactly which species).
> I don't believe Donat's claim that permitting requirements are to
> prevent bioprospecting is accurate; the only way to prevent
> exploitative bioprospecting by foreign entitites is to not allow ANY
> collecting by foreigners whatsoever. A permit is no barrier. If I ran
> a biomedical firm, I would not balk at filing a permit that costs
> only a hundred dollars or so, if I believed that I might make
> millions.
> An enlightened approach to regulation would, obviously, include (1)
> completely different provisions for different kinds of organisms, and
> (2) provisions that give waivers to recognized scientific
> institutions and those affiliated with them, and (3) explicit,
> internationally-binding provisions regarding profit-sharing on
> commercial products. This is unlikely to ever happen so long as the
> people writing the rules are not themselves scientists, though an
> organized scientific lobbying entity might make a difference.
> Sincerely,
> --
> Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
> Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
> phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
>               http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
>    "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>          is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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Dr. Donat Agosti
Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian

Email: agosti at amnh.org
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CV: http://research.amnh.org/entomology/social_insects/agosticv_2003.html

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