Geneva, 29 September 2003
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, HAITI AND HONDURAS
Implementation of Resolution Conf. 12.8
1. In accordance with Resolution Conf. 12.8 on the Review of Significant Trade in specimens of Appendix-II species, the Animals Committee, in consultation with the CITES Secretariat, formulated at its 19th meeting (Geneva, August 2003) recommendations relating to the queen conch (Strombus gigas) (see the Annex to this Notification). The Secretariat transmitted these recommendations to the range States on 28 August 2003 and communicated them to the Standing Committee.
2. The Secretariat has determined, after consultation with the Chairman of the Animals Committee, that for the populations of urgent concern, the Dominican Republic and Honduras have implemented the recommended specific short-term actions within the agreed time-frame. These two Parties have agreed in particular to suspend the issuance of export permits for all specimens of Strombus gigas from 29 September 2003. They have also informed the Secretariat that they are committed to fully implementing all the other short-term and long-term actions recommended by the Animals Committee. In support of these efforts, the Secretariat urges all Parties not to authorize any import of specimens of Strombus gigas from the Dominican Republic and Honduras until further notice.
3. The Secretariat has determined, after consultation with the Chairman of the Animals Committee, that Haiti has not implemented the recommended actions within the agreed time-frame. Consequently the Standing Committee recommends to all Parties to suspend the import of all specimens of Strombus gigas from Haiti until this country demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Standing Committee, through the Secretariat, compliance with Article IV, paragraphs 2 (a), 3 and 6 (a) of the Convention.
4. Range States of Strombus gigas, and particularly those with populations categorized as of urgent concern, are recommended to seek assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and to urge major importing countries to provide technical and financial assistance (see recommendation 7 in the Annex). The Secretariat strongly encourages Parties to respond favourably to such requests from the Dominican Republic, Haiti or Honduras, and to support them in implementing the comprehensive set of measures concerning Strombus gigas recommended by the Animals Committee.
Review of significant trade in specimens of Appendix-II species
(Resolution Conf 12.8)
RECOMMENDATIONS concerning Strombus gigas (PHASE V)
[made at the 19th meeting of the Animals Committee
Geneva (Switzerland), 18-21 August 2003]
Pursuant to the implementation of the provisions of Resolution Conf. 12.8, the Animals Committee proposes that the Standing Committee recommend a suspension of imports of specimens of the species from those Parties in Category (i) and Category (ii) if the Secretariat, in consultation with the Chairman of the Animals Committee, has not been able to verify that they have implemented the following:
Category (i) – ‘species of urgent concern’ for which the available information indicates that the provisions of Article IV, paragraph 2(a), 3 or 6, are not being implemented
Dominican Republic; Haiti; Honduras
1. Short-term actions to be taken within 6 months
a) Establish a moratorium on the commercial harvest (excluding legal harvest in territorial waters of the Parties concerned) and the international trade of Strombus gigas within four weeks of these recommendations being communicated by the Secretariat to the Parties;
b) Identify areas to be designated for commercial fisheries;
c) Undertake density studies of Strombus gigas in these designated areas;
d) Identify and analyse trends in available landing data;
e) Establish a standardized minimum weight of unprocessed and processed meat that corresponds to adult specimens;
f) Based on the results of the density studies, the analysis of landing trends and standardized meat weight establish cautious catch and export quotas in consultation with the Secretariat;
g) Demonstrate that actions 2 a), 2 b) and 2 c) below have been initiated.
2. Long-term actions for implementation to be taken within 18 months
a) Design and implement a fishery data collection programme to collect catch and effort data, including 1) a system of permits and licences for commercial harvesters and exporters, and 2) regular reporting of landing and export data;
b) Design and implement a long-term population monitoring programme for the designated commercial fishing areas that, as a minimum, should provide reliable estimates of adult and juveniles densities within commercial fishing areas;
c) Give consideration to and implement the recommendations of the International Queen Conch Initiative – CITES workshop (Montego Bay, Jamaica 11-12 June, 2003) annexed hereto, particularly the recommendations concerning:
i) Development of a regional management regime, including cooperative quota setting;
ii) Law enforcement capacity and effectiveness;
iii) Population assessments and other research relating to the management of Strombus gigas.
Category (ii) – ‘species of possible concern’ for which it is not clear whether or not the provisions of Article IV, paragraph 2(a), 3 or 6(a) are being implemented
Antigua and Barbuda*; Barbados*; Bahamas; Belize; Colombia; Cuba; Dominica*; Grenada; Nicaragua; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago*
3. Short-term actions to be taken within 12 months
Bahamas, Belize, Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines shall:
a) Establish within 12 months cautious catch and export quotas, communicate these to the Secretariat and provide information on the basis of these quotas;
b) Establish a standardized minimum weight of unprocessed and processed meat that corresponds to adult specimens;
c) Demonstrate that actions 3 d), 3 e) and 4 below have been initiated;
d) Design and implement a fishery data collection programme to collect catch and effort data, including 1) a system of permits and licences for commercial harvesters and exporters, and 2) regular reporting of landing and export data;
e) Design and implement a long-term population monitoring programme for the designated commercial fishing areas that, as a minimum, should provide reliable estimates of adult and juveniles densities within commercial fishing areas.
4. Long-term actions to be taken within 24 months
All Parties included in Category (ii) shall:
a) Apply adaptive management procedures to ensure that further decisions about harvesting and management of the species will be based on the monitoring of the impact of previous harvesting and other factors;
b) Give consideration to and implement the recommendations of the International Queen Conch Initiative – CITES workshop (Montego Bay, Jamaica 11-12 June, 2003) annexed hereto, particularly the recommendations concerning:
i) Development of a regional management regime, including cooperative quota setting;
ii) Law enforcement capacity and effectiveness;
iii) Population assessments and other research relating to the management of Strombus gigas.
At its 41st meeting the Standing Committee recommended to all Parties that they suspend imports of specimens of Strombus gigas from certain range States. The Secretariat should remind these States of the measures that need to be implemented before the recommendation of the Standing Committee can be withdrawn.
Category (iii) – ‘species of least concern’ for which the available information appears to indicate that the provisions of Article IV, paragraph 2(a), 3 or 6(a) are being met
Bermuda; Brazil; Costa Rica; France (including Guadeloupe and Martinique); Guatemala; Jamaica; Mexico; the Netherlands (including Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles); Panama; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (including Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands); United States of America (including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands); Venezuela
On the basis of paragraph l) of Resolution Conf. 12.8, all range States categorized as of ‘least concern’ would be eliminated from the review.
These range States are invited to participate in the regional activities arising from this review of significant trade in Strombus gigas, and to give consideration to and implement the recommendations of the International Queen Conch Initiative – CITES workshop (Montego Bay, Jamaica 11-12 June, 2003) annexed hereto, particularly the recommendations concerning:
– Development of a regional management regime, including cooperative quota setting;
– Law enforcement capacity and effectiveness; and
– Population assessments and other research relating to the management of Strombus gigas.
Problems identified in the course of the review that are not related to the implementation of Article IV, paragraph 2 (a), 3 or 6 (a)
In compliance with paragraph l) of Resolution Conf. 12.8 the Animals Committee recognized that there were issues of concern in range States other than those specifically related to the implementation of Article IV, paragraph 2 (a), 3 or 6 (a), and requested the Secretariat to address these in accordance with the appropriate provisions of the Convention and relevant Resolutions.
Issues of concern in particular range States
1. Specimens of Strombus gigas are reportedly imported into several countries and territories after being obtained illegally, for example through unauthorized fishing in waters under the jurisdiction of other states and the subsequent transfer of the product across international borders. Often, the product is sold at sea or reported as being landed in national waters. Although this happens in many range States this is of particular concern for Aruba (NL), Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe (FR), Honduras, Martinique (FR) and the Netherlands Antilles (NL).
2. In several countries illegal fishing and subsequent transfer of the product across international borders occurs undermining national management measures. This is of particular concern for Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Venezuela. These countries should also explore opportunities to strengthen bilateral communication, cooperation and exchange of data on law enforcement issues. This cooperation should especially be sought between importing and exporting States.
3. Insufficient monitoring and reporting of trade occurs in a number of range States and needs to be addressed. Monitoring and reporting of trade volumes seems especially problematic for the dependent territories of France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, with trade often not monitored and going unrecorded.
Issues of concern in all range States
4. The majority of Parties have reported trade in Strombus gigas meat in numbers of specimens instead of kilograms, which prevents proper monitoring and analysis. All meat in international trade should be reported in kilograms (kg) and live specimens and shells in kilograms (kg) or number of specimens.
5. To properly control and monitor levels of exportation, range States are encouraged to collect and communicate information on percentages of tissue loss (and thus weight) during the processing of Strombus gigas meat.
6. All countries are requested to collaborate in the development and establishment of standardized terminology and conversion factors for processed meat of Strombus gigas that allow estimation of the number of animals in international trade.
7. Range States of Strombus gigas, and particularly those categorized as of urgent concern, should seek assistance from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and urge major importing countries to contribute technical and financial assistance.
Recommendations of the International Queen Conch Initiative – CITES Workshop
Montego Bay, Jamaica 11-12 June, 2003
Recognizing that Strombus gigas is one of the most important fisheries for the region and that this species is experiencing continued and significant declines;
Recognizing also that due to its biological characteristics, this species is vulnerable to over-exploitation and that once depleted, recovery can take many years to occur;
Recognizing further the 1996 San Juan Declaration establishing the International Queen Conch Initiative;
Considering that an active program to cooperate on the conservation and management of this species will directly respond to guidance from leaders given at the World Summit on Sustainable Development with respect to the need to take action at all levels to restore depleted fish stocks on an urgent basis;
Reaffirming our commitment to proper implementation of Article IV of CITES;
Recognizing that a lack of financial and human resources limits the ability of national governments and regional organizations to implement the recommendations in this document;
Noting that stock declines have occurred despite 10 years of listing on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);
Deeply concerned that a lack of focused attention to this species will result in the loss of this species as a commercially viable resource in many parts of the region;
Acknowledging the management and regulatory measures including closures, gear and size restrictions already underway at the national level in support of the sustainable use of this species,
Fully aware of the need to consider management of this species in the context of scarce resources for fisheries enforcement and as one component of a sustainable fisheries management program at the national, sub-regional and regional level;
Noting that reliability, compatibility and quality of data on the status and trends of queen conch stocks and on trade constitutes a serious impediment to effective management of conch stocks;
Understanding the need for greater networking among countries and regional partners to manage this shared resource;
Committed to building partnerships among all interested organizations, institutions and stakeholders in the region to maximize effective use of scarce human and financial resources; and
Welcoming the recent establishment of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism in this regard;
The International Queen Conch Initiative – CITES Workshop submits the following recommendations, pending approval by governments, for consideration by national governments and appropriate inter-governmental bodies, in particular CARICOM, CRFM, CITES and FAO:
Relating to significant trade review process and improvement of CITES implementation capacities
1. States should provide specific comments on the report in its totality and national implementation of Article IV to CITES Secretariat by June 30 2003 deadline.
2. After consideration in Capitals, meeting organizers should provide to CITES, by the June 30 2003 deadline, these recommendations along with a summary report as a regional response to the TRAFFIC Report.
3. States should urge appropriate authorities to review relevant national legislation implementing CITES with a view to meeting minimum standards in the CITES National Legislation Project.
4. States that have not already done so should consider establishing catch and export quotas to improve the management of Strombus gigas and should report those quotas to CITES authorities for notification to Parties.
5. States, where appropriate, are urged to find the most effective channel of communication between authorities responsible for queen conch management and national CITES authorities and stakeholders, and between the CITES Secretariat and the Parties.
6. CITES and FAO are urged to work together to finalize the Memorandum of Understanding between them as soon as possible.
7. One goal of the CITES-FAO MOU is to facilitate improved communication and exchange of information between CITES and fisheries authorities at the national level bearing in mind the existing FAO communication network.
8. States should consider designating authorities responsible for management of conch stocks as CITES authorities for this species.
Relating to improvement of scientific research on queen conch biology
9. Establish regional database and/or standardized data storage formats for conch biological research.
10. Promote partnership with existing organizations working on similar activities.
11. Stock assessment, early life history, growth and recruitment studies need to be priorities in national and regional research programs.
12. Promote the undertaking of more abundance surveys for Strombus gigas.
13. Need to develop standardized methodologies and implementation strategies for more robust abundance surveys taking into account the biological characteristics of Strombus gigas.
14. Explore stock enhancement opportunities for this species as well as opportunities for transplantation of spawning stocks to locations that will maximize spawning success.
15. Biological research should also focus on identification of essential spawning and recruitment habitat as well as research addressing dispersal of larvae for Strombus gigas with a view to assisting planners in establishing effective marine reserves to promote rebuilding of stocks.
16. Cooperative arrangements should be sought to conduct stock assessments, based on the best science available and transparency of data, for queen conch, as necessary.
Relating to improvement of status and tends reporting for queen conch stocks
17. Promote exchange of standardized data to facilitate a more accurate regional picture of status and trends of Strombus gigas stocks. In this regard, a harmonized conversion factor for conch product types is critical.
18. Favourably consider CRFM Project proposal for Strengthening Assessment and Management of the Conch Resources in the Region.
19. As a matter of priority, States should consult within governments to reduce discrepancies in reporting on status and trends of stocks as well as trade data (e.g. differences in CITES data and fisheries export data).
20. The region should actively participate in the implementation of FAO’s Strategy for Improvement of Status and Trends of Fisheries – requesting that Queen Conch be considered as a priority by FAO in implementing the Strategy.
Relating to improved cooperation on management of queen conch stocks
21. States should favourably consider CRFM proposal to establish a Caribbean regional lobster and conch fisheries management organization. CRFM should consult with other regional bodies in order to avoid duplication of efforts.
22. Non-CARICOM countries are encouraged to become Associate Members of CRFM at the earliest opportunity. Non-CARICOM countries should work closely with CRFM to establish criteria for associate member status in CRFM.
23. During discussions/negotiations to establish a Caribbean regional lobster and conch fisheries management organization, consideration should be given to the use of the CRFM Lobster and Conch Working Group as a mechanism to organize efforts in this regard.
24. Pursue discussions and cooperative opportunities on the utility and feasibility of establishing marine reserves for queen conch stocks, and in particular pursue cooperation between CRFM initiative, Caribbean Environment Program, FAO, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations on these issues.
25. Cooperation on management measures at the sub-regional level will be critical to leveraging scarce resources.
Relating to improved law enforcement capacity and effectiveness
26. States should pursue, as a matter of priority, regional cooperation to deter and eliminate IUU fishing activities in the Caribbean region.
27. Recognize the need for and initiate capacity building programs to implement these recommendations, in particular with respect to law enforcement issues.
28. Cooperative programs should include but not be limited to information sharing, law enforcement initiatives, training opportunities, technical assistance, and other relevant means.
29. States, where appropriate, should strengthen their legal and regulatory structures for law enforcement relating to fisheries management.
30. Promote opportunities for regional cooperation on implementation of the FAO International Plan of Action to deter, prevent and eliminate IUU fishing, in particular Caribbean regional participation in upcoming FAO consultations on IPOA implementation.
31. Consider participation in the voluntary Fisheries Monitoring Control and Surveillance Network.
32. Explore opportunities to strengthen bilateral communication, cooperation and exchange of data on law enforcement issues. This cooperation should especially be sought between importing and exporting States.
Relating to improved education, outreach and involvement of industry and interested stakeholders
33. Develop and implement education and outreach programs targeting fishers, consumers and young people designed to raise awareness of queen conch status and concerns.
34. Seek partnership opportunities with industry and NGO community to fund these efforts. (note: Dominican Republic, Archipelago of the Sciences Program (Guadeloupe), CONACYT (Mexico), CINVESTAV (Mexico), Parque Xelha (Mexico), Conch Heritage Network (USA) and CFMC programs for youth outreach).
35. Ensure transparency throughout the development of a regional fisheries management organization for conch and lobster fisheries by including industry and interested stakeholders in these discussions at local, national, sub-regional and regional levels.
Relating to operationalizing resolutions and international conventions and other relevant arrangements
36. Promote cooperation between intergovernmental organizations interested in this resource, in particular CITES and SPAW protocol, as a means to secure adequate resources for States to implement these recommendations and meet commitments under international conventions.
37. States should solicit donor parties and organizations that are interested in the conservation and sustainable use of the queen conch outside the range States region to provide the technical assistance and financial support in accordance with Conf. Res. 12.8 to ensure that adequate human resources, institutional capacity, legal and regulatory systems, research and management strategies are executed and maintained for the overall improvement of this marine resource.
38. States should promote the continued viability of Strombus gigas for the food security of the region by fully implementing appropriate quality assurance programs, recognizing the need for capacity building assistance in this regard and noting the value-added such work would bring to the sector.
* refers to those countries currently subject to a trade suspension under Phase III of the Review of Significant Trade
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