Hawksbill Turtle Sub-group Teleconference Meeting
9 April 2002
Dr Jim Armstrong (Facilitator - Secretariat), Mr John Sellar and Ms Marceil Yeater (Secretariat), Mr Jonathan Nisbett (Bermuda), Sra Silvia Alvarez (Cuba), Mr Adrian Reuter (TRAFFIC North America), Ms Harriet Gillett and Mr Richard Wood (UNEP-WCMC), Ms Anne St. John (Rapporteur).
Dr Armstrong introduced and welcomed the participants. Although several of the participants had not been reached via telephone for the meeting, the group decided to continue with the meeting since it was important to wrap-up several outstanding issues before the 2nd Hawksbill Turtle Dialogue meeting in May 2002. The following agenda was agreed:
- Minutes of the last teleconference (action items)
- Report of the Status Monitoring Protocol meeting (USA)
- Provisional agenda for the 2nd Hawksbill Turtle Dialogue meeting (Secretariat)
- Any other business
Minutes of the last teleconference (24 October 2001):
The first action item from the last teleconference, carrying out a monitoring protocol workshop, was accomplished. The United States drafted the agenda and organized the meeting, which took place in Miami, Florida, in February 2002. Cuba thanked the United States, particularly Mr Earl Possardt, for arranging the meeting. Cuba had several comments regarding the summary report of that meeting, which it will provide directly to the United States since the Secretariat did not have a copy of the report. The Secretariat requested that Cuba copy its comments to the Rapporteur, so they could be included in the minutes of this teleconference. The United States was asked to make the corrections provided by Cuba and provide a copy of the summary report to the Secretariat.
Per the second action item from the last teleconference, TRAFFIC is currently undertaking a trade/use survey of all marine turtles in the southern Caribbean.
UNEP-WCMC reported that it had distributed to the CITES Management Authorities of the Wider Caribbean a questionnaire requesting status monitoring data, expert contact information, and other relevant information to be included in the Data Sharing Facility. It had received numerous responses to the questionnaire and provided for this teleconference a draft metadata questionnaire, to be sent to national experts, requesting information that could be shared in the Data Sharing Facility. UNEP-WCMC requested of the teleconference participants guidance on relevant topics to include in the questionnaire. UNEP-WCMC suggested that the draft questionnaire be discussed further under the final agenda item for this teleconference.
The Secretariat accomplished the fourth action item by translating the Hawksbill Turtle Dialogue documents and Sub-group documents into the three working languages of the Convention and posting them on its website.
As Objective 2 of the Data Sharing Facility (making available electronically the contributed documents to the metadatabase) and had not yet been completed, UNEP-WCMC had not yet drafted a multi-species proposal to be submitted to GEF by one of the participating Parties. It was decided that this action item would be considered ongoing, since it was being addressed.
As directed in the final action item, the Secretariat had distributed the minutes of the October 2001 meeting to the Sub-group participants and posted them on the CITES website.
Report of the Status Monitoring Protocol meeting
There was no U.S. representative participating in the teleconference, however, the Secretariat had spoken to the United States earlier in the week. The Secretariat had requested of the United States a summary report of the monitoring protocol meeting so it could translate and distribute the document to the Parties at least four weeks before the 2nd Hawksbill Turtle Dialogue meeting. The United States agreed to translate the document into Spanish and provide it to the Secretariat, for distribution, by the 10 April 2002 document deadline.
Provisional agenda for the 2nd Hawksbill Turtle Dialogue meeting
The Secretariat had invited all Wider Caribbean hawksbill range States (including non-Parties) to the 2nd Hawksbill Turtle Dialogue meeting. Fifteen countries had already indicated that they would attend the meeting. The Secretariat had only received comments from the United States regarding the provisional agenda for the meeting.
The Secretariat read through the provisional agenda in order to determine which agenda items would have accompanying documents. IUCN had provided the Secretariat with two documents for consideration at the dialogue meeting.
One Party had agreed to provide a verbal update at the meeting on its population monitoring work in 2001 under agenda item 3 of the provisional agenda.
The Secretariat indicated that under agenda item 4, TRAFFIC would provide an update on trade in marine turtles in the southern part of the Caribbean region.
The Secretariat noted that it had no specific comments on agenda item 5 on national legislation. Bermuda and Cuba both noted that they had made progress on their national legislation and agreed to provide verbal reports at the dialogue meeting. The Secretariat added that it would be useful to find out if countries with strong national legislation were making seizures.
For agenda item 6, UNEP-WCMC reported that it had sent out the first questionnaire on the Data Sharing Project and had received comments from approximately 70 institutions. UNEP-WCMC requested input from the teleconference participants on the metadata questionnaire it had provided earlier via email. The Secretariat noted that it was having UNEP-WCMC's summary report translated for distribution and discussion at the dialogue meeting.
The United States had requested that the two bullet points under agenda item 7 be changed as follows:
- Standardized protocols for long-term monitoring of nesting and foraging sites for hawksbills in the region
- Recommended index sites for long-term monitoring of nesting and foraging sites
Under agenda item 8, TRAFFIC had distributed a document it intended to submit that updated the dialogue members on trade in marine turtles in the wider Caribbean region. TRAFFIC reported that the document contained a summary of the teleconference issues and news items. It welcomed comments on this document in order to make it more comprehensive and noted that it had highlighted in the document some complex issues that would require the participation of all Parties in the wider Caribbean. The Secretariat outlined its experience with requesting Parties to provide information on wildlife trade and seizures. The Secretariat cautioned that an ETIS-type system for hawksbill would likely not result in a very high response rate. TRAFFIC appreciated the Secretariat's comments and noted that it would incorporate them into its document, which it would provide to the Secretariat later that day.
In preparation for COP12 (agenda item 9), the Secretariat reported that Cuba had indicated its intention to submit a proposal to downlist its population of hawksbill turtles to Appendix II with a one-time sale of stockpiled scutes to Japan. Cuba indicated that it would send a draft report on this proposal to all range State countries and hoped to received significant comments prior to submitting the proposal to the Secretariat on 6 June 2002. As the Secretariat had not received any proposals to review Resolution Conf. 9.20 (Rev.), it would remove that item from the dialogue meeting agenda.
The Secretariat indicated that there were no documents prepared under agenda item 10 on regional conservation strategy. It noted that a new working group might be formed to draft a regional context document relevant to this agenda item. Cuba indicated its support for this agenda item and applauded the suggestion of providing a report on the results achieved.
The Secretariat requested suggestions on the formation of working groups at the dialogue meeting, noting that at the 1st dialogue meeting, working groups had been based on language since interpretive services were not available. Cuba recommended against establishing working groups based on language at the 2nd dialogue meeting, noting that most of the participants were sufficiently proficient in English to use that language in the working groups. Cuba agreed to think about this issue and forward additional suggestions to the Secretariat.
The Secretariat noted that there were no documents yet for agenda item 11 on reviewing and approving the communiqué. The Secretariat stressed that this was an important task in finalizing the results of the dialogue and noted that the agreed communiqué would be submitted to COP12 for discussion.
Any other business
UNEP-WCMC reported that it had drafted a metadata questionnaire and would finalize it for distribution after receiving comments from the Sub-group participants. Part 1 of the questionnaire requested that organizations provide the names of experts and indicate their willingness to participate in this effort. Part 2 presented a simplified format for providing metadata, and Part 3 provided definitions of the terms used in the database. UNEP-WCMC requested comments on the subject key words as well as the form of the geographic information sought in boxes 14, 15 and 16 of the questionnaire. UNEP-WCMC stressed that it was concerned that the list of subject key words was not comprehensive enough. The Secretariat clarified that the questionnaire was seeking information concerning all marine turtle species and not simply hawksbill. UNEP-WCMC noted that it was requesting responses to the questionnaire by 10 May 2002, and would be prepared to give a verbal presentation of the status of the Data Sharing Project at the 2nd Hawksbill Turtle Dialogue meeting.
Dr Armstrong concluded the meeting and thanked the members for their participation, noting that the Sub-group would not be meeting again. The Secretariat clarified that additional dialogue meetings could be convened again depending on the discussions at COP12 and wishes of the Parties.
Attachment 1: Comments from Cuba about Monitoring Workshop in Miami
In the second paragraph of the introduction to Index nesting beaches, we suggest a modification in the fourth line. It states: "a more complete assessment of the population status". It should be state: "a more complete information to assess the population trends", because the assessment of population status requires the consideration of other parameters like biological, environmental, social, etc.
Regarding foraging grounds in the list of sites (Table 1), it is necessary, in the case of Cuban sites to change the name of Sabana Archipelago by the right name, which is Sabana Camaguey Archipelago.
As both parts of the protocol proposed have been treated separately, we consider that it would be vwe4ry useful to prepare this issue for Second Dialog meeting, to include at the end, a brief of the development of the workshop, the organization of the work, participants, the background of the discussion, transparency during sessions, etc. From technical point of view, it must be addressed, at least two issues:
- The emphasis on the need for flexibility to apply this protocol by different countries, taking into account the existing different capacities in these countries and
- The important issue of the convenience to include in the protocol, the monitoring of fisheries, in the case of countries which have recognized fishing activities.
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