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This document contains the report of the Expert Consultation on Legal Issues related to CITES and Commercially-exploited Aquatic Species. The Consultation was held in Rome, Italy, from 22 to 25 June 2004 in response to the agreement by the twenty-fifth session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) that an Expert Consultation should be convened to address the two issues, related to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The issues concerned primarily: (i) applications of the phrase "introduction from the sea" in the definition of trade in article I of the CITES Convention text; and (ii) an analysis of the legal implications of the existing CITES listing criteria and the CITES Convention itself in relation to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea ("the 1982 Convention") and related international law covering fisheries. Two papers prepared by an FAO Legal Consultant, Prof. E. Franckx, served as primary sources of references for the work of the Expert Group. While recognizing a divergence of views on the respective roles of the different bodies, the Consultation agreed that it was necessary to look for synergies between FAO, regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs) and CITES with complementary mandates with respect to commercially-exploited aquatic species. It further considered it important to look at the general relationship between CITES, the 1982 Convention and related international law covering fisheries before considering the more specific legal implications of the application of CITES in relation to commercially-exploited aquatic species including "introduction from the sea". The Expert Consultation agreed on the list of recommendations that draws attention to actions that it considered would lead to improvements in the legal interpretation and implementation of CITES in relation to commercially-exploited aquatic species. The recommendations emphasize close consultation between FAO and CITES to address the issues and possible follow-up actions discussed during the Expert Consultation. It invited FAO to consider this list and possible follow-up action where appropriate.

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