What is CITES? The acronym stands for The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Now that we know what CITES stands for, let’s simplify how it functions. The Convention is an international, legally binding agreement that entered into force on July 1st, 1975. Barbados became a Party to this Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) on December 9th, 1992.
To ensure adequate implementation of the provisions of the Convention, the Government of Barbados has enacted CITES specific national legislation called the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Act, 2006–3. This gives the international convention the force of law in Barbados.
The implementation of CITES in Barbados is the responsibility of all members of the public, as well as the national CITES Management Authority, with advice from the national CITES Scientific Authority.
It is critical to understand the above as it will guide you through the correct protocol and prevent you from the associated fines for breaching protocol. The organization’s main focus is to regulate the trade of and protect what is truly the precious commodities in our individual ecosystems and promote healthy biodiversity.
As a general rule of thumb, if you are unsure about which species of flora or fauna you are allowed to transport and what quantities, you can contact the Ministry of Environment & National Beautification, Green and Blue Economy or refer to the CITES website at www.cites.org for further clarification.
How CITES Operates:
CITES regulates international trade in species of wild fauna and flora listed in the Convention’s appendices, regardless of whether the specimens are alive, dead or processed in any way. Regulation is based on a system of required permits and certificates.
CITES listed species are only allowed to enter or leave a CITES member country accompanied by valid CITES import or export permits and provided they meet other national legislative requirements which may be stricter than those required by CITES. Each member country must designate a Management Authority that is responsible for issuing permits and certificates, subject to the advice of the Scientific Authority.
The plant and animal species listed, including their parts and derivatives, are subject to varying degrees of regulation depending on which of the three CITES Appendices (I, II or III) they are listed under.
Appendix I includes species that are considered endangered and for which trade is only authorised in exceptional circumstances. Both an import permit and export or re-export permit are required.
Locally occurring species listed in Appendix I include any species of sea turtle found in Barbados, and they are listed below:
– Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)
– Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
– Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
Harvest of all sea turtles in Barbados is prohibited by national legislation.
Appendix II includes species that are considered threatened and may become endangered unless trade is strictly regulated. Appendix II also contains so-called “look alike” species, which are controlled because of similarity in appearance to other regulated species. An export permit from the country of export is required. In addition, an import permit from the Barbados CITES Management Authority is also required for record keeping and monitoring purposes. Locally occurring species listed in Appendix II are:
– African green monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus)
– Red-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonarius)
– Queen Conch (Strombus gigas)
– West Indian mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni)
There are also a number of local hard corals listed under Appendix II. These include brain corals, cactus corals, finger corals, flower corals, pillar coral and staghorn coral. Harvest of all hard corals in Barbados is prohibited by national legislation.
Appendix III includes species that are subject to regulation within the jurisdiction of a CITES Party (country) and for which the cooperation of other Parties is needed to prevent or restrict exploitation. An export permit from the country that listed the species or a certificate of origin from any other country is required by the importing country.
There are no locally occurring species listed in Appendix III of CITES. It is important to note that Barbados requires import permits for all commercial shipments of listed species. However, there are some exceptions where persons may be allowed to carry specimens of a species without a permit under the Personal and Household Effects rule. Examples of specimens included under Personal and Household Effects exemptions are:
- Up to three (3) queen conch (Strombus gigas) shells per person.
- Up to four (4) worked specimens of Crocodilian species per person.
- Up to a maximum of 125g of caviar per person.
Application Procedure in Barbados:
The Veterinary Services Department (for fauna) or Plant Quarantine Unit (for flora) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Nutritional Security, must be approached for required preliminary approval.
Once preliminary approval has been obtained, persons who wish to engage in international trading (export or import) of CITES listed species must obtain a CITES permit. To obtain a permit, an Application Form issued by the CITES Management Authority must be completed and returned to the CITES Management Authority. The application process takes a minimum of two weeks to complete. It may include consultations with the Scientific Authority. In addition, the process may also require the submission of additional information and a site visit to inspect accommodation for imported specimens.
These activities may lengthen the processing time. If the application is successful, the applicant may be issued with either a permit or a certificate of origin.
The Management Authority may refuse to grant a permit where:
- The Scientific Authority recommends refusal on the grounds that the grant of the permit would not be in the public interest; having regard to such factors as it considers relevant including: the need to protect certain species from overexploitation through international trade; the preservation of the character of the environment and the availability of the natural environment for the enjoyment of the public.
- An application contains, or is based on, false or misleading representation or information.
- The applicant cannot provide adequate accommodation for a requested specimen.
Where the Management Authority refuses to grant a permit, the applicant is informed in writing with the reasons for the refusal being stated.
- Any person who does not comply with the permitting regulations by failing to have a permit, or knowingly having a false or altered permit, or provides false information to obtain a permit, is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $75,000, or to imprisonment for a term of 2 years, or both.
- Permits are not transferable.
- Export permits are valid for six (6) months from the date of issue.
- Every consignment of specimens requires a separate permit or certificate.
For more information, please contact the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification, Green and Blue Economy or refer to the CITES website.