Notification to the Parties
No. 1999/41 Geneva, 31 May 1999
Trade in stony corals
1. When authorizing exports of specimens of stony corals, Management Authorities frequently include in the export permit only the name of the genus (or a higher taxon). This raises two problems.
2. The first problem is that if the name of the species being traded is not known, this impedes the making of a non-detriment finding by the Scientific Authority in accordance with Article IV, paragraph 2(a), of the Convention. This matter has been referred to the Animals Committee to seek a solution through the application of Resolution Conf. 8.9.
3. The second problem concerns the acceptability of the permits. The Conference of the Parties has recommended [in Resolution Conf. 10.2, section IX, paragraph e)] that:
"the Parties refuse to accept permits and certificates that do not indicate the name of the species concerned (including subspecies when appropriate), except in the case where:
i) the Conference of the Parties has agreed that the use of higher-taxon names is acceptable;
ii) the issuing Party can show it is well justified and has communicated the justification to the Secretariat; or
iii) certain manufactured products contain pre-Convention specimens that can not be identified to the species level".
4. Consequently, the Secretariat has frequently recommended the rejection of export permits that included only the name of a coral genus or a higher taxon. However, the Secretariat has been in correspondence with the States concerned and has consulted several experts on the subject of the identification of corals. The consultations have related mainly to corals of the Indo-Pacific region.
5. As a result of this consultation, the Secretariat makes the following recommendations:
a) In cases where 'base rock' and 'substrate' made of corals, but not including pieces of coral collected alive and exported dead, can not be identified to the species level, permits and certificates authorizing trade in these specimens may indicate the name of a higher taxon;
b) Similarly, permits and certificates for shipments of coral sand and coral gravel that do not contain large pieces of coral may indicate the name of a higher taxon;
c) For trade in live specimens of the following genera, permits and certificates that include only the name of the genus may be accepted, in accordance with Resolution Conf. 10.2, section IX, paragraph e): Acropora spp., Lobophyllia spp., Montastrea spp., Physogyra spp. and Turbinaria spp.;
d) In all other cases of trade in specimens of stony corals, Parties should reject permits and certificates that do not specify the species names.
6. The Secretariat is continuing to collect information about circumstances in which permits and certificates may be accepted even though they do not specify the names of the species concerned. It would be grateful for further comments from the Parties on this issue.
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