December 1998 COFI/99/Inf.16 Part II

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FAO

COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES
Twenty-third Session
Rome, Italy, 15-19 February 1999
REPORT OF THE MEETING OF THE FAO AD HOC EXPERT GROUP ON LISTING CRITERIA FOR MARINE SPECIES UNDER CITES, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, 20 NOVEMBER 1998


INTRODUCTION

1. During the 10th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 10, Harare, Zimbabwe) a proposal was tabled for the creation of a WG for Marine Fisheries to address the concern that some fish species exploited on a large scale and subject to international trade might qualify for being listed in CITES annexes. Concern was however expressed also that the general CITES criteria might not be appropriate to deal with exploited and managed fishery resources. The concern was brought to the attention of the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade in Bremen (Germany, June 1998), where "South Africa proposed that FAO should be asked to appoint an ad hoc group to make suggestions on how such a process of scientific review might best be persued, leading perhaps to proposals for amendment to and/or appropriate interpretation of the CITES criteria in the context of marine fish species under large-scale commercial harvest.....The proposal was strongly supported and subsequently adopted..".1

2. A meeting of the ad hoc group was held in Cape Town on 20 November 1998, in accordance with the request from the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade for FAO to initiate a scientific review of the current CITES criteria for Appendix I and II listings in the context of marine species under large-scale commercial harvest.

3. The purpose of the meeting was to enable the FAO Secretariat to obtain technical and scientific views on the proposal from a range of experts in the field so that it could prepare an appropriate information paper on the issue to submit to COFI 1999 for its consideration. As a consequence, the meeting:

4. The list of the meeting participants and the agenda for the meeting are attached as Annexes 1 and 2 respectively.

5. The locality and timing of the meeting enabled the FAO to collect, informally, some scientific views on the problem, taking advantage of the presence of many relevant experts at the ICES Symposium on Confronting Uncertainty in the Evaluation and Implementation of Fisheries Management Systems (Cape Town, South Africa, 16-19 November 1998). A total of 14 technical experts participated in the meeting, in addition to a representative from the CITES secretariat, G. van Vliet, and two members of the FAO Secretariat.

6. Dr A.I.L. Payne, the South African coordinator for the meeting, opened the deliberations and welcomed all the participants. S. Garcia, Director of the FAO Fisheries Resources Division thanked all the participants for attending the meeting, provided them with the background to the meeting and described its objectives. Thereafter, Mr van Vliet, on behalf of CITES, explained the role of CITES in relation to trade of endangered species and he presented the background and process for the development of the CITES criteria for listing such species for the purpose of international trade, summarising the current process for listing or de-listing of species in the relevant appendices. On behalf of CITES, he welcomed the initiative of COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade to propose a review of the criteria as they apply to commercially exploited marine species and pointed out that, if endorsed by COFI, the proposal could contribute to a full review of the criteria, which CITES intended to initiate at the 11th Conference of the Parties of CITES in the year 2000.

GENERAL ISSUES

7. The Group identified a number of issues relating to the application of the existing CITES criteria (and definitions) to marine species that required rigorous review and subsequent modification or clarification. These included the following:

8. Following on from the previous point, it was suggested that the Definitions, Notes and Guidelines, as they pertain to marine species, should focus on the key considerations in assessing the threat of extinction to an exploited population but should avoid any attempts at quantifying these considerations, as these are too variable in marine fish species for general guidelines to be applicable. The work to be done to improve the criteria should therefore focus on the appropriate process for deciding whether a species should be listed or not, including the reliable indicators of threat of extinction, the necessary types of data or information, the conventionally agreed methodologies needed to analyse them, as well as guidance for their interpretation.

9. One of the major areas of concern in the application of the CITES criteria was the focus of CITES listing on the species level, in contrast to the normal focus of fisheries management on the stock level (i.e. on a sub-species or population level). This implies that while CITES aims at ensuring that sufficient individuals of a species remain available on Earth, or in a geographical area, UNCLOS, the Code of Conduct and fisheries management in general aim at ensuring sustainability of all stocks.

10. It was pointed out that in Annex 5 a population was defined as the total number of individuals of the species, and that it is species that are usually listed by CITES. Further, attention was drawn to paragraph A of Annex 2b (of CITES document Conf. 9.24, which suggests listing on Appendix II of any species which cannot be distinguished from a certified species (the "look alike" issue). It was recognised that these provisions were included to facilitate enforcement of any trade bans or regulations, but it was suggested that they could create substantial problems when applied to fish species (i.e. in the case of listing of one particular species of tuna). Many fish species have very wide, even global, distributions and are sub-divided into separate stocks. There are many examples of a single species (or "population", in CITES terms) in which some stocks are over-exploited and others are in a healthy state. The issue of whether listing was intended to be applicable to stocks, or whether it was only concerned with threats of extinction at the species level, and the Group suggested that the implications of both options need to be discussed and clarified.

DEFINITIONS, NOTES AND GUIDELINES

11. The Group considered the definitions, notes and guidelines pertaining to the Biological Criteria, as listed in Appendix 5 of CITES document Conf. 9.24, as these appeared to be fundamental for proper interpretation of the criteria. In general, it was agreed that the concepts behind the definitions, notes and guidelines were valid also for species exploited by fisheries but that in most cases there were problems that required clarification and improvement. In particular, the attempts to provide quantitative guidelines for some of the definitions generated problems.

12. Two of the definitions that caused particular concern within the context of commercially harvested marine species were "Area of distribution" and "Decline" and it was suggested that both of these needed to be thoroughly examined. As discussed above, the definition and application of "Population" also required consideration. When dealing with fisheries, it was considered that the concept of "abundance" needed to address both the very high numbers of individuals within the early life stages of fish stocks (i.e. larvae and juveniles) in relation to the number of older members of the stock. A simple total estimate of a stock (or population) abundance could be very misleading as an index of stock (or population) health.

13. Most of the other definitions also contained some points requiring some modification or addition in order to be valid for exploited marine species.

SCOPE OF POSSIBLE REVISED GUIDELINES

14. The original request from the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade was for a review of the current CITES criteria in the context of marine species under large-scale commercial harvest. The Group considered that the wording may not be appropriate in that difficulties could be encountered in determining whether or not a fishery met the "large scale" criterion or whether artisanal fisheries were not to be covered. It was tentatively agreed that "large scale" referred to fisheries resulting in substantial removals from the stock and as such all fisheries involving international trade were concerned.

15. While the original concern related essentially to marine resources and fisheries, it was agreed that the criteria to be applied in determining whether or not a species or stock was threatened by harvesting would be similar for marine fisheries and large inland water bodies (inland seas and lakes). It was suggested that different criteria might have to be considered in the case of small, isolated water bodies, rivers and streams.

A SUGGESTED PROCESS FOR REVISING THE CRITERIA

16. It was recognised by the Group that a revision of the CITES criteria required substantial scientific or technical input but that it would also require a political process in view of the possible implications for trade. It was agreed that the process, if undertaken by FAO, could be to review and comment the CITES criteria and definitions in relation to their potential application to fished stocks and, as required, to develop specific definitions and criteria (as well as interpretations of the existing ones). All issues identified above would need to be fully addressed and more would most probably be identified including a scientific approach to determining the threat of extinction.

17. If accepted by COFI, such a process would require:

18. The timing of such a process would have to take account of the meeting schedule of both COFI and CITES as follows:

ANNEX 1

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

BADENHORST A.
Sea Fisheries
Private Bag X2
Rogge Bay 8012
Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: 2721 4023105
E-mail: badenhst@sfri.wcape.gov.za

BUTTERWORTH D.S.
Department of Mathematics and
Applied Mathematics
University of Cape Town
Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
Tel: (27) 21 6502343
Fax: (27) 21 6502334
E-mail: dll@maths.uct.ac.za

CHIPOLLINI A.
Instituto del Mar del Perú
IMARPE
Esq. Gamarra y Gral Valle
S/N Chucuito-Callao
Lima, Perú
Tel: (51) 14297630
E-mail: achipol@imarpe.gob.pe

COCHRANE K.L.
Fishery Resources Division
Fisheries Department, FAO
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy
Tel: (39) 06 57056109
Fax: (39) 06 57053020
E-mail: Kevern.Cochrane@fao.org

COOKE J.
Centre of Ecosystem Management
Studies
Mooshof
79297 Winden, Germany
Tel: (49) 7681 6018
Fax: (49) 7681 6019
E-mail: justin.cooke@t-online.de

GUISTE H.
Fisheries Development Division
Ministry of Agriculture and the
Environment
Fisheries Complex Building
M.E. Charles Boulevard
Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica
Tel: (1) 767 4480140
Fax: (1) 767 4480140
E-mail: cfra@cwdom.dm

JAKOBSEN T.
Institute of Marine Research
P.O. Box 1870 Nordnes
N5024 Bergen, Norway
Tel: (47) 55 238636
E-mail: torej@imr.no

JOSEPH W.B.
Department of Fisheries
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry,
Fisheries and the Environment
Block A, N.J.S. Building, Waterfront
Castries, St. Lucia
Western Indies
Tel: (1) 758 4526172
Fax: (1) 758 4523853
E-mail: dof@candw.lc

LAWRENCE N.
Fisheries Development Division
Ministry of Agriculture and the
Environment
Fisheries Complex Building
M.E. Charles Boulevard
Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica
Tel: 1 767 4482401 (ext 3163)
Fax: 1 767 4480140
E-mail: cfra@cwdom.dm

NJIFONJOU O.
IRAD-SRHOL
PMB 77 Limbe
Cameroon
Tel: (237) 33 23 76
E-mail: njifonjo@caramail.com

PAYNE A.I.L.
Sea Fisheries
Private Bag X2
Rogge Bay 8012, South Africa
Tel: (27) 21 4023102
Fax: (27) 21 217406
E-mail: ailpayne@sfri.wcape.gov.za

PUNT A.
CSIRO Marine Laboratories
GPO Box 1538
Hobart, TAS 7001
Australia
Tel: (61) 3 62325492
Fax: (61) 3 62325000
E-mail: andre.punt@marine.csiro.au

SAINSBURY K.
CSIRO Marine Laboratories
GPO Box 1538
Hobart, TAS 7001
Australia
Tel: (61) 3 62295264
Fax: (61) 3 62295199
E-mail: keith.sainsbury@marine.csiro.au

SINCLAIR, M.
Bedford Institute of Oceanography
Box 1006
Dartmouth, NS, Canada B2Y 4AZ
Tel: (1) 902 4264890
Fax: (1) 902 42641506
Email: sinclairm@mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

STOKES K.
CEFAS Lowestoft Laboratory
Pakefield Road
Lowestoft
NR33 OHT
UK
Tel: (44) 1502 524360/524379
Fax: (44) 1502 524223
E-mail: kevinstokes@compuserve.com

UOZUMI Y.
National Research Institute of
Far Seas Fisheries
5-7-1 Orido Shimizu , 424
Japan
Tel: (81) 543 3067
E-mail: uozumi@enyo.affrc.go.jp

VAN VLIET G.
CITES Secretariat
15, Chemin des Anemones
1219 Châtelaine, Geneva
Switzerland
Tel: (41) 22 9178139/140 (direct 123)
Fax: (41) 22 7973417
E-mail: ger.van-vliet@unep.ch

ANNEX 2

MEETING OF FAO AD HOC EXPERT GROUP ON LISTING CRITERIA FOR MARINE SPECIES UNDER CITES

Cape Town, South Africa, 20 November 1998

PROVISIONAL AGENDA AND TIMETABLE

1. Opening of the Meeting (A. Payne, Director: Research, Sea Fisheries, South Africa)

2. Election of Chair and Rapporteur (A.Payne, Director: Research, Sea Fisheries, South Africa)

3. Background to the meeting and objectives (S. Garcia, Director, FIR, FAO)

4. Overview of the CITES criteria: aims, rationale and experiences in implementation (J. Armstrong, Deputy Secretary-General, CITES)

5. General Discussion:

5.1 Aspects of the CITES criteria that give cause for concern within the context of commercially-exploited marine species and that should be brought to the attention of COFI.

5.2 Considerations for a review process, should it be recommended. (This may include any technical requirements for the review, the forum or forums in which it should occur and a timetable for the process)

5. Any other matters

7. Closure of the Meeting

PROSPECTUS

MEETING OF FAO AD HOC EXPERT GROUP ON LISTING CRITERIA FOR MARINE SPECIES UNDER CITES

Cape Town, South Africa, 20 November 1998

Purpose of the meeting

The meeting will:

i) Study the proposal by the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade (cf. Appendix 1) to initiate a scientific review of the current CITES criteria for Appendix I and II listings in the context of marine species under large-scale commercial harvest; and

ii) Make proposals for an appropriate approach for an in-depth scientific review of these criteria in this context, where the products of such a review would include, if considered necessary, proposals for amendments to and/or appropriate interpretations of these CITES criteria.

The fundamental principles specifying the listing of species to be included in Appendices I and II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora are Article II, paragraphs 1 and 2: (Website: http://www.wcmc.org.uk/CITES/english/index.html "Text of the Convention"). Currently valid Criteria for Amendment of Appendices I and II are defined in CITES Resolution 9.24 (Website: as before but "Resolutions of the Conference of the Parties").

Expected Outcome

Following a review of the approach used by CITES and the criteria adopted for listing species and defining their biological conditions, the meeting will express an initial expert opinion on these and will consider the possible design of a scientific review process. The latter could include an FAO consultation of government experts, an FAO technical consultation or an FAO (or COFI) ad hoc technical expert meeting in 1999.

Report to COFI

The recommendations of the ad hoc Expert Group and the guiding considerations which led to the recommendations will be submitted to the FAO Committee on Fisheries when it will consider the report of its Sub-Committee on Fish Trade at its Twenty-third Session in February 1999.

Any recommendation adopted by COFI will be forwarded to the CITES Secretariat. CITES have indicated that the results of the work performed by FAO, will be considered by CITES as part of their review of the Biological Criteria adopted by the CITES Conference of Parties in 1994. The programme for this review will be discussed in February 1999 by the CITES Standing Committee.

Meeting Organisation

The meeting will be jointly organised by FAO and South Africa.

At the invitation of South Africa, and in order to take advantage of the presence of many of the most relevant experts in the field, the meeting will be organised back-to-back with the ICES Symposium on Confronting Uncertainty in the Evaluation and Implementation of Fisheries Management Systems, to be held in Cape Town (South Africa) from 16 to 19 November 1998. The opening session will commence at 08:30 hrs on 20 November 1998 at the Research Aquarium, Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Sea point, Cape Town.

The meeting will be held mainly in plenary sessions unless it decides otherwise. The Chairman and the Rapporteur of the Expert Group will be elected at the start of the meeting from among its members.

Participation

The ad hoc Expert Group will consist of experts on the subject nominated by FAO, serving in their individual capacities. For practical reasons, this Group will be open to a small number of relevant experts selected for their internationally recognised competence on the question of sustainability and management of resources. To reduce the cost of the meeting, the invited experts have been selected from the list of potential participants in the ICES symposium. The list of individuals invited to serve on the Expert Group will be prepared in due course.

Language and Documents

The meeting will be held in English.

The following documents will be used by the meeting (tentative list):

1. The CITES criteria and associated annexes

2. Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries

Secretariat

Garcia, S.:

Head of the FAO Delegation

Payne, A.I.L.:

Host Country Coordinator

Cochrane, K.:

FAO Secretary of ad hoc Expert Group Meeting

Coordination

Ruckes, E.:

Secretary, COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade
Phone: 39-06-5705-6460
Fax: 39-06-5705-5188
E-mail: Erhard.Ruckes@fao.org

APPENDIX 1

EXTRACT FROM THE REPORT OF THE FAO COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES,

SUB COMMITTEE ON TRADE

(Bremen, Germany, 2-5 June)

Issues of international trade, environment and sustainable development: status of fisheries resources exploitation

12. The discussion of agenda item 5 was preceded by a proposal by South Africa that FAO should initiate a scientific review of the CITES listing criteria as they might apply to large-scale commercially harvested fish species. South Africa proposed that FAO should be asked to appoint an ad hoc group to make suggestions on how such a process of scientific review might best be pursued, leading perhaps to proposals for amendment to and/or appropriate interpretation of the CITES criteria in the context of marine fish species under large-scale commercial harvest. The text of the proposal and the suggested terms of reference for the ad hoc working group are reproduced in Appendix F. The proposal was strongly supported and subsequently adopted. It was agreed that use should be made of the expertise available from regional organizations; there were several offers to contribute scientific knowledge.

Proposal by South Africa that FAO initiate a scientific review of the CITES listing criteria as they might apply to large-scale commercially harvested fish species (Submitted by Professor D S Butterworth, South African representative to the Session)

During the 10th meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties held in Harare from 9 to 20 June 1997, a proposal for the establishment of a Working Group for Marine Fish Species was debated. In motivating this proposal, its proponents stated that some marine fish species, subject to large-scale commercial harvesting and international trade, currently qualify for inclusion in CITES Appendices, which would consequently lead to limitations on such trade. This argument was supported by the IUCN, which has a special relationship with CITES in providing scientific advice, at the CITES meeting.

The proposal failed to gain acceptance at the meeting, largely because many countries were of the opinion that this matter fell more appropriately under the purview of FAO, and should therefore first be deliberated upon under the auspices of the FAO.

South Africa is likewise concerned about the appropriateness of the new biological criteria for listing under CITES Appendices I and II (as adopted at the 1994 CITES meeting in Fort Lauderdale) as they might apply to large-scale commercially harvested marine fish species. Following the comments made at the Harare CITES meeting, South Africa wishes to propose that the FAO initiate a process to review these criteria scientifically with a view to advising CITES regarding their appropriateness for application to marine fish species under large-scale commercial harvest.

Given the possibility of CITES listings and consequential trade restrictions, this matter is one of enormous potential significance for world fisheries. South Africa therefore urges FAO to initiate the scientific review process suggested above in the near future.

Accordingly, South Africa wishes to propose that FAO be asked to appoint an ad hoc Group to make suggestions on how such a process of scientific review, leading perhaps to proposals for amendments to and/or appropriate interpretations of the CITES criteria in the context of marine fish species under large-scale commercial harvest, might best be pursued. The intention would be that such an ad hoc Group would make its report to the FAO COFI meeting in February 1999, to aid that meeting in deciding on how best to take the matter forward.

South Africa is hosting a Symposium on Confronting Uncertainty in the Evaluation and Implementation of Fisheries-management Systems under the auspices of FAO, ICES and the EU in Cape Town from 16-19 November 1998. A number of leading fisheries scientists with expertise in the issues discussed above will be in attendance, likely including the Director of FAO's Fishery Resources Division. If the proposal above were accepted, South Africa would be prepared to host a meeting of the ad hoc Group suggested either immediately before or after this Symposium.

Terms of reference for ad hoc group to advise on a process of scientific review under the auspices of FAO of the CITES listing criteria in the context of marine fish species under large-scale commercial harvest

i) To study a proposal to review the current CITES criteria for Appendix I and II listings in the context of marine fish species under large-scale commercial harvest.

ii) To make proposals for an appropriate approach for an in-depth scientific review of these criteria in this context, where the products of such a review would include, if considered necessary, proposals for amendments to and/or appropriate interpretations of these CITES criteria.

iii) To report its recommendations to the February 1999 meeting of COFI.

The Group will consist of experts on the subject, serving in their individual capacities and nominated by FAO.




1 Report of the Sixth Session of COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade, Bremen, Germany, 3-6 June 1998. Para. 12 and Appendix F.