Wider Caribbean Region Hawksbill Turtle Dialogue Meeting
Mexico City, 15-17 May, 2001
15 May 2001
Agenda Item 3: Background on previous CITES Dialogues
Decisions regarding format and participation for future meetings will be deferred until the last day of this meeting
Agenda Item 5: Conservation Status of hawksbill turtles
The status information document, as presented to the meeting, must be revised and updated to include new data as well as subjected to different forms of analyses. IUCN has agreed to undertake this revision. Participants agreed to provide the Secretariat with any new relevant information and comments, on an ongoing basis.
IUCN requires that the deadline for submission of information for inclusion in the initial revision should be 30 September, 2001, in order to be able to submit a revised version of this paper to the Parties by 30 November, 2001, to enable them to submit comments before finalization of this document.
The relative ecological importance of different populations within the Caribbean region must be taken into consideration.
Long-term monitoring is an important component of sound scientific Hawksbill turtle conservation and management. The Parties are encouraged to standardize and expand monitoring systems to cover additional sites throughout the region. The Working Groups should examine how the Dialogue process can contribute to the development of standardized protocols, and long-term monitoring and reporting of conservation status.
Agenda Item 6: Biological aspects of hawksbill populations
An update of the turtle biology paper is needed for many of the same reasons as expressed under Agenda item 5. Similar deadlines and related issues should apply to such revision.
A significant question for the Working Groups involves the need to take into account changes in habitat and environmental conditions, in relation to the species recovery and the development of management objectives.
Agenda Item 7: Status of Trade in hawksbill turtles
There was general support for the points and conclusions of the trade issues document including:
- A need for better understanding of trade issues through assessment and monitoring of harvesting and trade, legal and illegal, domestic and international, for the entire region;
- A need to improve capacity throughout the region, for management and monitoring of trade and its impacts;
- The need to address complementarity problems where international trade is banned, but domestic trade is widely occurring;
- The need for an emphasis on the whole range of management approaches, for the Parties to evaluate for their own use;
- The need to review control systems in consumer States; and
- The importance of awareness-building among tourists and the tourism industry.
There was agreement that additional information can be provided, and a similar trade status study should be undertaken for the entire Caribbean region. The Working Groups should address the need for improving national legislation and enforcement throughout the region.
Agenda Item 8: Multilateral agreements for conservation of hawksbill turtles
The increasing numbers of international agreements are creating a web of obligations. The Group recognized the potential of overlapping responsibilities among the various agreements. There is a growing need to understand these issues and their implications for Parties. Particular issues of concern include domestic trade, international trade and reservations.
16 May 2001
Re: The report of Day 1 was presented and amended to include relevant substantive concepts.
Agenda Item 10: National Reports:
In the course of the reports, a moment of silence was observed for Doctora Elvira Carrillo, of Cuba, a luminary in the field of turtle biology, whose loss is profoundly felt in this meeting.
The following countries presented national reports:
United States of America (Separate reports from the continental USA, Puerto Rico, & the U.S. Virgin Islands)
Each of the reports addressed conservation status, management policy, legal frameworks, results of research conducted and trade status, as well as issues of particular national interest. Among the issues that were addressed by several presentations:
- enforcement actions and their effectiveness in achieving conservation objectives (impact of targeted investigations and seizures, programs to clamp down on tourist trade and related activities, uncertainty about the effectiveness of conservation efforts relative to population size);
- socio-economic dimensions of turtle consumption and trade (the need to accommodate these dimensions in turtle regulatory and recovery programmes);
- need for regionally consistent measures for turtle management and control of harvest, to facilitate implementation beyond the national level;
- subregional and bilateral collaboration in conservation and management (both current and new initiatives);
- increasing impacts of tourism on beach and ocean habitats;
- benefits and threats from eco-tourism focused on sea turtles, and the need to develop codes of conduct for the tourism industry and tourist awareness;
- the problems of developing conservation policies for shared resources, particularly where these policies have both consumptive and non-consumptive elements which are not compatible;
- questions surrounding the levels and objectives of recovery of hawksbill turtles;
- nest and beach protection measures;
- impacts on turtles from habitat degradation from a variety of sources (pollution, mining, industrial and tourism development, beach erosion, etc.);
- measures taken by some States to restrict harvesting (additional moratoria, longer closed seasons, etc.);
- compliance with international treaties;
- problems with enforcing domestic legislation (remoteness of beaches and fishing areas, black markets, lack of know-how, etc.)
- local community involvement in turtle conservation programs (education, alternative income sources, community support and awareness, etc.)
- inclusion of turtle protection and habitat issues in national biodiversity strategies and action plans;
- need for sensitising and training of judiciary and enforcement agencies, etc.;
- the role of national and international NGOs in conservation, management and education efforts;
- governmental and intergovernmental support for marine turtle conservation activities;
- need for long-term monitoring and research to establish baseline information;
- need for minimum standards and procedures for data collection; and
- the importance of open exchange of information and experiences; and
- other threats to the species, including by-catch in non-target fisheries, pollution, marine debris and disease
17 May 2001
Protocol for Future Meetings:
Plenary opened with a discussion of the Protocol for future Hawksbill Turtle Dialogues:
- Each political unit (country or territory) will be invited to send a delegation to the Dialogues
- Each delegation may consist of not more than four delegates (although CITES cannot fund more than 2 delegates per unit.)
- The composition of national delegations, as proposed by the national or territorial government, will not be questioned.
- The Parties agreed that NGOs in their own right will not participate in the dialogues. This rule will include NGOs that provide funding for the dialogues.
- The rules and decisions of the Dialogues can be decided and/or changed only by consensus of the Parties.
Report of the Working Groups:
The two Working Groups presented their reports regarding future activities and the ways in which this Dialogue process can contribute to the recovery, conservation and sustainable management of hawksbill turtles of the Region. These reports were discussed and adjusted in plenary, resulting in a Working Groups Summary Report.
Need for Another Meeting (and where and when):
Another meeting is generally expected, and the UK has offered to provide a venue in one of its overseas territories in the Region.
Regarding the timing, the issue of importance is how soon everyone can complete their various tasks as outlined in the Working Groups Summary Report. Another factor is the next CITES COP, which will be in November 2002 in Santiago de Chile. To get a resolution into this meeting, it would need to be submitted by June 2002.
This suggests that the next meeting should be in April or May of 2002.
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