Published 25 April 2014


New Non-Detriment Finding guidelines available

UPDATE: In August 2014, the German Government, through BfN, convened a workshop of experts where the shark NDF guidelines were refined and revised. The revised versions are now available, in both English and Spanish through the CITES shark website portal.

Cambridge, UK, 25th April 2014—TRAFFIC has helped develop straightforward steps for determining whether trade in a particular species is likely to be detrimental to its survival, a key requirement for countries before allowing export of their wildlife resources.

The new guidelines are aimed at helping government authorities decide whether a Non-Detriment Finding (NDF) can be issued and export permits granted to allow trade to proceed for a species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 

Determining a robust NDF is one of the key challenges facing governments in implementing their obligations under CITES and some CITES Scientific Authorities have struggled to implement this rather complex process. In recent years there has been a focus on developing guidance for different taxa.

Now, thanks to funding provided by the German Government’s BfN and WWF Germany, TRAFFIC has developed new guidelines to assist CITES Scientific Authorities in determining NDFs for perennial plants, and thanks to further BfN funding they have been used as a basis for developing NDF guidelines for sharks too. 

Both the plant and shark NDF guidelines lead the reader through a simple step-by-step process to determine whether a recommendation for trade to proceed or not is appropriate.

The voluntary plant NDF guidelines (PDF, 2 MB), associated guidance document (PDF, 2 MB) and worksheets (Doc, 1.6 MB) will be presented at a side event held during the CITES Plants Committee meeting next month in Mexico. Their development included testing and refinement following a workshop held in Viet Nam, and TRAFFIC also drew on their experience in developing the FairWild Standard for sustainable wild plant harvesting. The guidelines should also support the implementation of the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD)’s Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). 

The shark NDF guidelines (PDF, 2 MB) also build upon work carried out by TRAFFIC on behalf of the European Commission examining the implementation of the listings of a number of threatened shark and manta ray species under CITES agreed in March 2013 and work with Defra on developing a risk assessment framework for shark management. Together these products could prove crucial in ensuring appropriate management measures are in place to stop the over exploitation and overfishing of shark populations before NDFs can be issued and trade allowed to proceed. The shark NDF guidelines will be further tested and refined at an expert meeting to be held in August 2014. 

The existence of both the plant and shark NDF guidance documents will be highlighted at the forthcoming CITES Plants and Animals Committees, where CITES Scientific Authorities will be actively encouraged to put them into practice to test them. 

“We welcome and encourage feedback from anyone using the guidelines so they can be developed and their applicability further improved to help achieve the goal of ensuring wildlife products are properly managed.” said Thomasina Oldfield, TRAFFIC’s Science, Research and Analysis Coordinator.