The CITES Appendices currently include close to 100 commercially-exploited aquatic species of fish, molluscs and echinoderms, including amongst others:
- European eel, Anguilla anguilla (2007 - Appendix II)
- sawfishes, Pristidae (2007 - Appendix I apart from 1 species on Appendix II)
- humphead (Napoleon) wrasse, Cheilinus undulatus (2004 - Appendix II)
- Mediterranean date mussel, Lithophaga lithophaga (2004 - Appendix II)
- white shark, Carcharodon carcharias (2004 - Appendix II)
- sea cucumber, Isostichopus fuscus (2003 - Appendix III)
- basking shark, Cetorhinus maximus (2002 - Appendix II)
- pipefishes and seahorses, Hippocampus spp. (2002 - Appendix II)
- whale shark, Rhincodon typus (2002 - Appendix II)
- sturgeons and paddlefish, Acipenseriformes (1997 - Appendix II apart from 2 species on Appendix I)
- Caribbean queen conch, Strombus gigas (1994 - Appendix II)
- giant clams, Tridacnidae (1983 - Appendix II)
CITES has also had significant impact with some non-fish species important either as targeted species in marine harvesting activities or taken as bycatch in fisheries. For example, a number of whale species and stocks are listed on Appendix I, as are all marine turtle species.
At CoP10 in 1997, the increased involvement of CITES with aquatic species exploited by fisheries raised several concerns by FAO Member countries on the application of the Convention to commercially-exploited aquatic species. Discussions on the issue held at COFI and COFI-FT meetings showed for instance a lack of consensus among countries on the role of CITES as an instrument, complementary to traditional fisheries management, to protect and promote the sustainable use of fisheries resources. Countries on the other hand generally agree on the need for greater input from national fisheries agencies in the elaboration of listing proposals dealing with fish stocks and from FAO in the evaluation of these proposals.
It was also specially noted the need to refine the criteria and guidelines for listing species on CITES Appendices to reflect the specific characteristics aquatic resources. As a follow up to the above discussions, a substantive workplan for FAO on CITES in relation to commercially-exploited aquatic species was approved by the Twenty-fifth Session of COFI in 2003.