credits: Francesco Cardia

Also in accordance with the Workplan from the 25th Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI), an Expert Consultation on Implementation Issues Associated with Listing Commercially-exploited Aquatic Species on CITES Appendices was held at FAO headquarters from 25 to 28 May 2004. The Expert Consultation addressed the following issues related to the CITES:

  • CITES Article II Fundamental Principles, Paragraph 2(b), the 'look-alike' clause.

  • Annex 3 of CITES Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP12) Criteria for Amendment of Appendices I and II, which deals with split-listing, and aquaculture issues as a group, noting the interrelationships in these topics.

  • Administrative and monitoring implications of listing and down-listing, including the implications of Annex 4 of Res. Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP12) for this.

The Consultation agreed on a number of key recommendations. These recommendations included the need for States to improve communication and coordination between their national governmental agencies responsible for CITES implementation and those responsible for natural resource management, including fisheries. Addressing the concern of many FAO Members that the CITES mechanism for listing and de-listing is not sufficiently responsive and flexible, it was suggested that FAO could raise this concern with CITES, taking into consideration the nature of safeguard mechanisms for down-listing commercially-exploited aquatic species and the manner in which they might be applied. The consultation also raised the need to examine alternative approaches to those presently used within CITES to assist in identifying specimens in trade that would avoid unnecessary listing of look-alike species while still effectively addressing enforcement and identification issues. Similarly there was examination of the potential problems for fisheries if there was inflexible adherence by CITES Parties to the guidance on split-listing.

The Consultation raised the need for capacity-building to assist States to meet their obligations under CITES. Attention was drawn to the fact that implementation of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the associated international plans of action should help to reduce the incidence of listing proposals for commercially-exploited aquatic species.

The Report from the consultation (full report in PDF) was made available at CoP13 and helped to inform discussions on relevant issues. They were widely welcomed at CoP13. The report was also made available to participants at the 26th session of COFI in 2005.

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