CITES: More Information on the 26th Animals Committee Meeting

Shark Year Magazine,
05. April 2012

This is an update on our previous post from March 21st CITES: 26th Animal Committee Meeting.

On April 2nd, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) has published additional details regarding the twenty-sixth meeting of the Animals Committee (AC26) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) that took place from 15-20 March 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Here is the shark-related part of their report …. Quote :





On Thursday, 15 March, Hugh Robertson (New Zealand), Oceania representative and intersessional WG Chair, introduced the relevant document (AC26 Doc.16.1), noting that by the reporting deadline set in the Notification, the Secretariat had received responses from the European Union (EU) (on behalf of 27 parties), Canada, New Zealand, Peru and the US. He said that because of delays in notifications, the WG could not report on any progress.

Canada noted that FAO is the most appropriate body to report on shark management and conservation issues, though also recognized that collaboration with CITES is critical.

The Pew Environment Group highlighted the complementarity of CITES and FAO activities.

FAO emphasized the activities it has undertaken for the management and conservation of sharks, including: a report, that will be available in July 2012 for the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI), which will include a compilation of measures and activities undertaken by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) with regards to conservation and management of sharks; the FAO/CITES report of the workshop to review the application and effectiveness of international regulatory measures for the conservation and sustainable use of elasmobranchs; a guide for identification of shark fins; and guidelines for the management of deep sea fisheries on high seas and areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The Secretariat reiterated that it continues to work very closely with FAO on shark matters. He also highlighted the joint programme of work on migratory sharks with the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).


On Thursday, 15 March, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (AC26 Doc.16.2). The Secretariat noted that more reports have been submitted since the deadline set in the Notification to the Parties of 10 November 2011, highlighting that currently one fourth of the CITES membership has responded.

Argentina said it is preparing a response, highlighting its adoption of a national plan for sharks, as well as specific regional plans and programmes, including the Argentina-Uruguay joint fishing programme.

China noted the role of FAO and RFMOs in enhancing shark conservation and proposed the review of three shark species currently listed under Appendix II, namely Cetorhinus maximus (basking shark), Carcharodon carcharias (great white) and Rhincodon typus (whale shark).

Japan called for reviewing the effectiveness of Appendix shark listings. Similarly, the Republic of Korea questioned whether CITES listings are effective for commercially-exploited marine species.

WWF, supported by the AC Chair, questioned why the mentioned shark species would be singled out for review, noting that there are mechanisms for reviewing the efficiency of CITES listings.


On Thursday, 15 March, in plenary, Germany presented a draft proposal to include Lamna nasus (porbeagle shark) in Appendix II (AC26 Doc.26.2 Annex). He requested scientific advice and guidance on the draft proposal.

The EU and US stated that based on their initial evaluations, the proposal provided sufficient evidence that it met the listing criteria according to their interpretations of those criteria.

Japan did not agree that the draft proposal met criteria for Appendix II and questioned whether the proposal met the terms of reference for the AC. The Secretariat clarified that the AC is mandated to offer technical commentary on the content of the draft proposal, independent of its outcome.

The Committee established a WG on sharks, co-chaired by Robertson and the alternate Asia representative, Nobuo Ishii (Japan).

The Shark WG met on Friday, Saturday and Monday 16, 17 and 19 March. The WG discussed: Germany’s listing proposal; national reports; the report of the CITES/FAO workshop to review the application and effectiveness of international regulatory measures for the conservation and sustainable use of sharks; complementarity with RFMO measures; outstanding information and analysis concerns, such as whether to attach party responses to the CITES shark questionnaire as a list of shark species or to compile it in a table with additional information for analysis; and an in-progress FAO review of commercially exploited aquatic species.

On Tuesday, 20 March, the AC adopted the WG recommendations with minor amendments.


In the final recommendation ( Note by SYM : posted here as Part 2 ), which contains an appended list of shark species submitted by parties that they believe require additional action to enhance their conservation and management, the AC recommends, inter alia, that the CITES Secretariat:

  • contact the top 26 shark fishing member states that did not respond to CITES notifications relating to sharks or to the FAO questionnaire on the status of implementation of the FAO International Plan of Action for Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks), and encourage a response and make this information publicly available to parties;
  • invite parties that responded to the CITES notification but did not provide information on trade in sharks and on domestic measures regulating the import or export of shark parts and products to do so and to make this information publicly available to parties;
  • issue a notification alerting parties when the FAO report “The Implementation of the International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks” becomes available and provide a link to this document;
  • request from FAO the terms of reference for the FAO assessment to be undertaken regarding all commercially exploited aquatic species listed in the CITES Appendices, make this information available to parties through a notification and request FAO to report on progress; and
  • issue a notification to parties requesting them to summarize and provide copies of, or links to, their domestic laws and regulations that prohibit the landing or trade of shark species and products, and make this information available on the CITES website; and collaborate with FAO to develop a single, regularly updated source summarizing current RFMO measures for shark conservation and management.

The AC also, inter alia:

  • encourages parties to work with CMS on shark species listed in the relevant Appendices to CITES and CMS, including by prohibiting the taking of these species and to implement measures through the Migratory Sharks Memorandum of Understanding (MOU);
  • urges parties that are shark fishing states to develop National Plans of Action (NPOA) and to take steps to improve research and data collection on both fisheries and trade at the lowest taxonomic level possible (ideally by species); and
  • encourages parties to improve data collection, data reporting and management and conservation measures for sharks species through domestic, bilateral, RFMOs, or other measures.

Source : IISD Earth Negotiations Bulletin  Vol. 21 No. 71 – CITES Final



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