Geneva, 5 November 2001
Implementation of Resolution Conf. 11.13
Universal labelling system for the identification of caviar
1. Following the adoption of Resolution Conf. 11.13 concerning a universal labelling system for the identification of caviar, and the monitoring, in collaboration with the Animals Committee, by the Secretariat of the implementation of the system as required under Decision 11.162, it became apparent that certain recommendations in the Resolution required clarification. This was referred to the Animals Committee, which established a working group at its 16th meeting (Shepherdstown, December 2000) that included representatives of several range States of Acipenseriformes. The working group reconvened at the 17th meeting of the Animals Committee (Hanoi, July 2001). It formulated recommendations and clarifications regarding the implementation of the above-mentioned Resolution that were approved by the Animals Committee. The Secretariat was requested to inform the Parties accordingly.
2. The Secretariat recognizes that certain recommendations emanating from the working group of the Animals Committee and presented in paragraphs 3 to 17 below are beyond the scope of Resolution Conf. 11.13, but agrees that all are valuable suggestions that can contribute to the future implementation of a universal labelling system for caviar.
3. Resolution Conf. 11.13 is meant to apply particularly to commercial shipments of caviar (from wild or aquaculture sources) that are exported from the country of origin to the first country of import. It should be noted that Resolution Conf. 10.12 (Rev.), paragraph e) under RECOMMENDS provides that Parties consider the harmonization of their legislation to allow for the personal effects exemption under Article VII, paragraph 3, for caviar to be limited to no more than 250 grams per person.
4. According to the current language in paragraph a) of Resolution Conf. 11.13, a primary container of more than 249 grams of caviar may only enter international trade when an individual, non-reusable label is affixed to it. The reference to the introduction of a uniform marking system for any primary container of "more than 249 grams of caviar" in paragraph a) is believed to have been intended to mean any primary container that contains "250 grams or more of caviar".
5. Secondary containers referred to in paragraphs b), d) and e) are containers or wrappings in which one or more primary containers are packed.
6. Paragraph b) recommends that in the event that primary containers of less than 250 grams of caviar are packed in a secondary container and exported, a non-reusable label should be affixed on the secondary container only. A description of its content should also be indicated on the secondary container.
7. In relation to paragraph d), referring to the exportation of one or more primary containers that are packed in a secondary container, the information appearing on the label of each of the primary containers of 250 grams or more of caviar (in accordance with paragraph 4 of this Notification) should also be indicated on the secondary container. This could be achieved by placing one example of each of the labels used on the primary containers onto the secondary container.
8. When a secondary container includes a mixture of primary containers of less than 250 grams, and of primary containers that require to be individually labelled, labels should be applied as described in paragraphs 6 and 7 above. The description of the secondary container content should be indicated on that container, which could be achieved by placing one example of each of the labels used on the primary containers onto the secondary container.
9. Paragraph c) provides for the minimum information that should be included in the non-reusable labels. This minimum information should be presented in accordance with the formula and the example provided in that paragraph, and should be clearly shown on the label. The precise layout of the non-reusable labels should be left to the exporting country to determine.
10. Accordingly, the formula that should be used on the non-reusable labels should contain as a minimum and in the following order:
– The type of caviar, e.g. Beluga, Ossetra, Sevruga.
– The standard three-letter species code as provided in the Annex to Resolution Conf. 11.13. The working group of the Animals Committee advises that in the case of hybrids where the parentage is known, the two three-letter codes for the male and the female respectively, separated by the character ‘x’ be used. The working group supports the suggestion of the Secretariat to use the code ‘MIX’ in case of labels for pressed caviar, which comprises a mixture of caviar coming from several species of Acipenseriformes.
– The ISO two-letter code of the country of origin.
– The year of harvest indicated in four digits.
– The code allocated to the processing plant where the caviar is produced (i.e. "xxxx" in the example provided in paragraph c) of Resolution Conf. 11.13).
– The lot identification number [i.e. "yyyy" in the example provided in paragraph c)].
The formula should therefore read, for example, "Beluga/HUS/RU/2001/xxxx/yyyy".
11. The code allocated to the processing plant can be composed of numbers, letters or a combination thereof [the code does not need to have four digits as indicated in the example provided in paragraph c)] that are determined to be appropriate by the country of origin. The working group proposes that a ‘processing plant’ be defined as the plant where the caviar is first processed, or which is responsible for the certification of the origin of the caviar, and not plants in countries of origin that reprocess or repackage caviar for export. The working group suggests that the code for processing plants be preceded by the letters ‘AQ’ when the produced caviar is from aquaculture sources.
12. The lot identification number can be a serial number [the code does not need to have four digits as indicated in the example provided in paragraph c)] that corresponds to information related to the caviar trade tracking system implemented by the exporting country.
13. Regarding paragraph e), the information on the labels should be mentioned in box 9 of the standard CITES export permit or in an annex attached to the permit as an integral part of it, in accordance with the provisions of Resolution Conf. 10.2 (Rev.), section I, paragraph e) under AGREES.
14. Parties are reminded of the provision in paragraph g) that, when directed by the Standing Committee or agreed to between the range State and the CITES Secretariat, the Management Authority of the exporting, re-exporting and importing Parties should provide to the Secretariat a copy of each export permit for caviar immediately after issuance or upon receipt, as appropriate. The Secretariat is of the opinion that broader implementation of this provision would allow the Secretariat to assist Parties that import shipments of caviar directly from countries of origin to verify whether these shipments are accompanied by appropriate documents containing the information referred to in paragraph c), d) or e), as required under paragraph h).
15. Parties that authorize export of caviar are encouraged to inform the Secretariat of the labelling system that is used, and to provide a list of registered processing plants and of their registration codes as appearing in the non-reusable labels.
16. The set of procedures laid out in Resolution Conf. 11.13 is recommended to be put into effect as soon as possible for export quotas for the year 2001. In this regard, Parties should be aware that although the European Union is not a Party to CITES, a Commission Regulation came into effect in its Member States on 22 September 2001 that includes the marking requirements prescribed in Resolution Conf. 11.13, making them compulsory for caviar that is exported from producing countries to the European Union in case one of its Member States is the first country of import.
17. In order to assist the exporting countries in their effort to prevent illegal trade in caviar, the Animals Committee recommends that Parties that re-export caviar consider implementing a system of labelling similar to the universal labelling system described above. The working group referred to in paragraph 1 above has been asked by the Animals Committee to review Resolution Conf. 11.13 and to propose amendments to this effect.
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