Published 16 November 2007


The perfect Introduction?

Wollongong, Australia, 16 November 2007—TRAFFIC and the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) have come up with ways to address key issues concerning the interpretation of regulations relating to marine species under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), in particular “Introduction From the Sea”. 

Processes for monitoring trade in CITES Appendix II-listed fauna and flora are well-established for terrestrial species and marine species caught within national waters; countries exporting such products need to demonstrate that the level of trade is sustainable and not negatively impacting populations of the species concerned. Once this has been established, they submit a non-detrimental finding (NDF) to CITES. 

However, the situation is less clear-cut for marine species caught in international waters. The latter are termed “Introduction From the Sea” (IFS), which is defined under CITES as “transportation into a State of specimens of any species which were taken in the marine environment not under the jurisdiction of any State”.

Currently it remains unclear when precisely the “Introduction” of a species takes place, and therefore which regulatory authority needs to issue IFS certificates and a NDF, and how and when this should be done.

In August, TRAFFIC and ANCORS held a workshop to discuss ways round the problems associated with interpretation of IFS. 

In particular, participants examined what constitutes “transportation into a State” and used this to determine precisely where and when “Introduction” occurs. 

“Clear definition of ‘Introduction’ and other terms is essential to ensure that CITES regulations are widely applicable to marine species caught in international waters,” said Glenn Sant, TRAFFIC’s Global Marine Programme Leader. 

The workshop concluded that it is preferable to consider “Introduction” as the point when product is landed on a vessel. The flag State of the vessel should then be responsible for issuing IFS certificates and NDFs, as well as subsequent export or re-export permits (and determining that the product was taken legally), until the product is landed or transhipped to a vessel flagged under a different State. 

“We hope our deliberations will help take this important debate forward,” said Sant.

CITES "Introduction from the Sea": A practical way forward