Service du droit pour le développement

Workshop on CITES, fisheries and legal acquisition findings in the Latin American and Caribbean region


Manta, Ecuador 8–11 May 2023

Over the last decade, an increasing number of commercially exploited aquatic species is being included in the Appendix II[1] of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). These species support livelihoods and economic opportunities for fishing communities in numerous Parties to the Convention. Ensuring the responsible, legal, and sustainable use of and trade in these species is fundamental for their conservation, resilience, and adaptability to a constantly changing environment. At the 19th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP19), held in November 2022, Parties agreed to include several additional species of sharks, including the Carcharhinidae spp. family in Appendix II of the Convention. This decision will enter into force on 25 November 2023. This outcome of CoP19 reinforces the need of all Parties to ensure that appropriate legislation, procedural and legal mechanisms, and technical capacity are in place so that the international trade in said species may continue in line with CITES requirements.

Addressing these concerns, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), through the Development Law Service (LEGN), and in collaboration with the CITES Secretariat, organized a regional training workshop on CITES, fisheries and legal acquisition findings (LAFs) for 13 countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Hosted by Ecuador’s CITES Management Authority (National Biodiversity Directory, under the Ministry of the Environment), this four-day workshop aimed to develop capacities of representatives of national fisheries administrations, CITES Management and Scientific Authorities and other relevant institutions on the legal aspects for the effective implementation of CITES in the fisheries sector, especially in the making of LAFs and in strengthening cooperation between fisheries and CITES authorities.

About 50 participants took part in the training, which was delivered in Spanish and in-person only. Participants included representatives of fisheries and CITES authorities from: Argentina, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. Representatives from the Central American and Dominican Republic Wildlife Enforcement Network, the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific, the Defenders of Wildlife, the World Wide Fund for Nature, fishing enterprises, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also participated.

The workshop included presentations about CITES key principles and requirements and their applicability in the fisheries sector; clarifications on commercially exploited aquatic species listed in CITES Appendix II, opportunities for collaboration between CITES and fisheries authorities, correlations between CITES and fisheries management; an introduction on how to use the FAO-CITES Legal Study and Guide; the relevance to CITES of the Agreement on Port States Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA), Catch Documentation Scheme (CDS), and the Technical Guidelines for Implementing and Understanding CDS. Additionally, the workshop promoted the use of the Rapid Guide for the Making of LAFs, available at Annex 3 of Resolution Conf. 18.7 (Rev. CoP19). Workshop participants shared substantive information, knowledge and practical experiences of CITES implementation in their national fisheries sectors.

FAO and the CITES Secretariat will continue supporting this important network of fisheries and CITES authorities created through this workshop. This network is pivotal for promoting coordinated cooperation and continued interaction between fisheries and CITES authorities so as to ensure the effective making of LAFs and implementation of CITES for commercially exploited aquatic species.

The organisers also wish to acknowledge the great support received from the FAO Office for Ecuador, the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and the International Technical Assistance Program of the Department of Interior of the United States of America (DOI-TAP) which also contributed to the success of the workshop.

For more information, please contact [email protected].

[1] For detailed information about how CITES works and its Appendices, see the FAO-CITES Legal Study and Guide (pages 9-14).