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II Meeting Report PDF Print E-mail


Phoenix, Arizona
February 11-12, 1997



Representatives of the following agencies and offices attended the CITES Working Table:


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (PWS): Office of Management Authority FWS Division of Law Enforcement FWS Region 4 (sea turtle coordinator) PWS Region 2 (sea turtle coordinator) National Marine Fisheries Service

U.S. states:

Arizona Game and Fish Department
International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies


Instituto Nacional de Ecologia (INE), SEMARNAP
Instituto Nacional de la Pesca (INP), SEMARNAP
SEMARNAP (Coordinación de Asuntos Internacionales) Procuraduna Pederal de Proteccion al Ambiente (PROPEPA) Institute de Ecologia, A.C.


Environment Canada: Law Enforcement Office

Note: A summary is provided of each discussion item under the agenda. Action items and decisions made are italicized.

Implementation of CITES in the US.. Canada and Mexico Under this agenda item, Mexico (INE) circulated a 1-page summary of how CITES is applied in Mexico. INE summarized the new changes in Mexico's law, particularly the changes regarding which products can be commercialized, and those changes establishing procedures for issuance of CITES permits. Mexico summarized the division of responsibilities between INE (CITES permits issuance, CITES Management Authority and Scientific Authority) and PROPEPA (all enforcement responsibilities).

Representatives of the Institute of Ecology (Institute de Ecología) in Xalapa, Mexico summarized their responsibilities. There was discussion of their new Centre de Educación y Conservacíon Integral (CECI) in Xalapa; a handout was provided. There was particular discussion of training activities, and the program being developed to train all PROPEPA inspectors. The Institute is also serving as an advisor to the Scientific Authority in Mexico City (INE) on CITES-related scientific issues. Identification manuals are being prepared for orchids, cacti, fungi, and birds. The Institute is also establishing a network of scientists, specialists, and NGOs, to work on these CITES issues. The Institute will also establish a network of suitable rescue centers for the placement of seized/confiscated live animals and plants. The Institute also discussed its pilot environmental education project involving 8 communities in the La Mancha Basin.

It was agreed that the United States and Mexico in particular would cooperate on these efforts. FWS will provide information to the Institute on U.S.-related educational and training activities. FWS will provide details to the Institute on its Cargo for Conservation project, including contact numbers in the FWS National Educational Training Center.

The Institute noted that there is a need for greater communication between the U.S. and Mexican Scientific Authorities.

It was agreed that there will be efforts to enhance communication on CITES-related scientific issues between the U.S. and Mexican' Scientific Authorities.

Other CITES-related issues were discussed as well:

It was agreed that the U.S. will send list of contact names and numbers in the U.S. regarding CITES to the Institute of Ecology in Xalapa (Scientific and Management Authority, scientists with expertise, etc.)

FWS agreed to send its LEMIS Protected Species file to Mexico, to the Institute of Ecology in Xalapa.

FWS agreed to place the Institute on its monthly CITES mailing list.

FWS agreed to provide names of web sites and other E-mail addresses to Mexico.

FWS agreed to work to facilitate exchange of experts for training and education related to CITES and wildlife trade. OMA invited Mexico to send representatives to Washington to spend time learning how the U.S. implements CITES.

It was suggested and agreed that the countries would work to have a workshop of scientific experts (after the next CITES COP) to evaluate and discuss the impacts on species in North America of wildlife trade.

The countries agreed that it would be useful (at Mexico's suggestion) to host a meeting of the CITES Animals Committee at the Institute of Ecology in Xalapa.

Registration of facilities breeding Appendix I animals in captivity

Mexico reported that it proposes to effectively implement CITES Resolutions 2.12 and 8.15, by not allowing any trade in Appendix I species unless they are from registered breeding facilities (exports to or imports from the U.S., for example); that is, facilities registered with the CITES Secretariat. Mexico asked the U.S. to provide information on the origin of all parental stock of animals in U.S. breeding facilities, for species native to Mexico. The U.S. explained that it does not require registration of those facilities, and does not have such information; however, the U.S. can provide information to Mexico on a case-by-case, permit-by-permit basis. Mexico discussed that it has registered more than 500 production units breeding animals in captivity, and Mexico is planning to increase production in many species, for eventual commercial exports.

Mexico agreed to request such in formation from the U.S. on permits for which it has particular questions, and the U.S. agreed to respond accordingly.

Proposed project: parrot trade in local markets in Mexico

Mexico (INE) presented a concept of a project to study the domestic market in native parrot species within Mexico, to improve understanding of the extent of the domestic trade and the involvement of local communities. This is similar to the project approved by the last meeting of the CITES Standing Committee, which involves similar work on a small number of Mexican species in domestic trade; this concept involves the domestic market in all Mexican parrot species.

The group agreed to support the project in concept, and encouraged Mexico to further develop it into a project that could be submitted for possible funding. Mexico agreed to circulate any project that is developed to the U. S. for comments and technical input.

Marking of Live Animals

Mexico (INE) presented a concept that it would like to require the use of microchips to identify live Appendix I-listed animals that are in trade between the U.S. and Mexico for circuses and zoos, and similar purposes. Mexico also would like to use microchips for pet animals moving back and forth between Canada and the U.S., and Mexico. Mexico noted that there are laundering/illegal trade problems involving animal substitutions. Mexico's plan is to require microchips for all circuses. Concerns were raised about standardization of microchips and microchip readers, expense, and logistical enforcement problems. The U.S. noted the CITES COP10 draft resolution, agreed upon by the Animals Committee, regarding frequent transborder movement of live animals (not circuses, however).

All participants agreed that simplification of procedures for such transborder noncommercial movements of live animals is desirable, and that the draft resolution should be supported. Mexico agreed to notify the U.S. when it begins to use microchips, which technologies are being employed, which ports are being used, etc.


There was discussion of the species proposals submitted by Mexico, Canada, and the U.S., for consideration at the tenth meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (COP10), to be held in Zimbabwe June 9-20, 1997.

It was agreed that although not mandatory, consensus within North America on positions on CITES listing proposals is an important goal. The countries agreed to continue to communicate as their CITES positions on various submissions are developed.

The following proposals submitted by the three countries were discussed:

Mexican proposals

1. Collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu): deletion from Appendix II Mexico presented its proposal to remove its population from Appendix II (the U.S. population is currently excluded from the listing). There are no commercial exports allowed from Mexico: the only exports are relatively small numbers of sport-hunted trophies. There is international trade in peccary skins, from South America. If the proposal is adopted, any exports would still require export permits under Mexico's domestic hunting law.

2. Red-crowned parrot (Amazona viridigenalis): Mexico submitted this proposal to transfer the species from Appendix II to I, which the U.S. cosponsored.

The U.S. and Mexico agreed to cooperate to advocate adoption of this proposal.

3. Cactacae: Mexico discussed its proposal to amend the annotation for wild-collected seeds of Mexican species of cacti. Currently, seeds of all cacti are exempt from CITES controls. Mexico discussed the serious problems it has with illegal trade and illegal collection of seeds of its native cacti. The proposal as submitted would change the annotation to include wild-collected seeds of Mexican cacti in CITES Appendix II, while continuing to exempt seeds from cacti that are artificially propagated. Mexico discussed that it registers all nurseries. The U.S. pointed out difficulties in implementing such an annotation, in that wild-collected seeds could be falsely claimed to be from nurseries, thus avoiding permit requirements, and thereby providing no benefit for conservation of Mexican wild cacti. There is no way at all for a field inspector to differentiate between these seeds. Mexico reported that the CITES Plants Committee had agreed with this modified annotation.

The participants agreed that it would be preferable if Mexico amended its proposal to include all cactus seeds in Appendix II, and clarify that it would issue permits for the propagated seeds only. It was agreed that it would be far easier to implement such an amended proposal, which would also have greater probability of adoption by the COP. Mexico stated that it would consider amending its proposal.

Canadian proposal

1 .Wood bison (Bison bison athabascae): Canada submitted a proposal to transfer the subspecies from Appendix I to II. Canada explained that there are only 3 wild populations of this bison subspecies, which are on 2 reserves and 1 national park. Other wood bison are on farms, have been extensively interbred with plains bison, and are in commercial trade for meat. Canada believes that commercial meat exports of wood bison is not threatening the species.

U.S. proposals

The U.S. presented 6 of the 8 species proposals it submitted for consideration at COP 10. The other 2 are for de-listing from CITES of two taxa under the periodic review process (Unionidae mussels and Tweedy's bitterroot).

I. Bigleaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla): inclusion in Appendix II. The U.S. presented the proposal it submitted, with Bolivia as cosponsor. Mexico (INE) noted that it has asked forestry experts in Mexico for their views on the proposal, and will reach a decision at the end of February. The Institute of Ecology has reviewed the proposal and submitted comments to INE; the Institute supports the inclusion of bigleaf mahogany in Appendix II.

The U.S. agreed to provide Mexico and Canada a copy of the document it has produced outlining how the species qualifies for Appendix II under the new CITES listing criteria. It was agreed that Mexico and the U.S. would work together with the goal of producing a Latin American consensus (to the extent possible) on this proposal.

Mexico (PROFEPA) discussed problems with illegal logging and illegal trade across the Mexican-Guatemalan border. The U.S. noted that the inclusion of the species in Appendix II will help address these illegal trade and illegal logging problems.

2. Alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temminckii) to Appendix II
3. Map turtles (Graptemys spp.) to Appendix II
4. Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus homdus) to Appendix II

The U.S. presented these proposals to include these endemic U.S. reptiles in Appendix

II. The species are traded for both the pet market and for meat. International trade in North American reptiles is increasing significantly, with potential harm to species' populations, due in large part to closures for trade of exports from many other countries.

5. Sawfishes (Pristiformes spp.): The U.S. discussed its proposal to include all sawfishes in Appendix 1. Mexico supports the proposal.

6. Sturgeons (Acipenseriformes spp.): inclusion in Appendix II: The U.S. has cosponsored a proposal submitted by Germany, to include ail sturgeons in Appendix II. The vast majority of the trade is in caviar. Three species are basically extinct in the wild; the majority of those included in Appendix II are so included for similarity of appearance purposes, as the caviar cannot be differentiated at the point of inspection. The U.S. reported that NMPS and FWS are working closely on implementation and enforcement concerns, including identification techniques. Canada raised the concern that it does not recognize the CITES personal effects exemption, and many U.S. residents go to Canada to fish and bring their sturgeon home to the U.S., which will require implementation by Canada.

The U.S. agreed to communicate with Canada and Mexico on any implementation developments regarding this proposal.

Other country's proposals

The three countries discussed some of the other proposals submitted by other countries; a total of 75 species proposals have been submitted to the CITES Secretariat, for discussion at the June CITES meeting.

It was agreed that the three countries will work to obtain consensus on other country's proposals, when possible, but will definitely communicate their scientific analysis, positions and views to each other prior to the CITES meeting this June.

1. Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) to Appendix II: Cuba has submitted a proposal to downlist "its population" to Appendix II. to allow trade in stockpiles and other shells to Japan only. The U.S. has reviewed the proposal, and sent comments to Cuba. Those comments were provided to the participants in the meeting. The U.S. opposes this proposal, having numerous concerns about the robustness of the science in the proposal, along with a number of other biological and trade factors. The IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group is also reviewing the proposals. Mexico (INP) stated that they are in the process of conducting a scientific analysis of the proposal, and will consider the U.S. comments in their review.

The countries agreed that a key element of the proposal is the contention by Cuba that they have a distinct, closed hawksbill sea turtle population. It was agreed that in order to answer these questions studies are needed both on the population genetics of sea turtles in Cuban waters, and satellite tracking of migratory routes for those sea turtles. When INP completes its review, it agreed to provide it to the U. S. and Canada.

The countries also discussed the issue of stockpiles, in that the proposal would allow trade in stockpiles that were accumulated while the species was in Appendix 1. There are major concerns that some of those stockpiles were not obtained legally, and may not have all been obtained in Cuban waters.

The countries agreed to share information that they have on illegal trade in sea turtles and sea turtle products within the Caribbean.

2. Whale proposals: The participants discussed the four whale proposals submitted to CITES, by Japan and Norway, to downlist certain whale stocks to Appendix II, to allow commercial trade. They are for specified stocks of the following species: Gray whale (Eschrichtius acutorostrata) to Appendix II: Japan: Minke whale {Balaenoptera acutorostrata) to Appendix II: Japan and Norway; Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) to Appendix II: Japan. The U.S. noted that it has already provided its views to Japan, noting that CITES has agreed since COP2 to support the whaling moratorium of the International Whaling Commission. The IWC asked CITES some time ago for its assistance in implementing and enforcing the ban on commercial whaling. For this and several other reasons, the U.S. opposes these proposals. Mexico supports the gathering of more scientific information, slating that countries should wait for studies to be finished before they discuss any sustainable utilization of whale stocks. Mexico and Canada agreed that they will probably oppose the proposals.

The countries agreed to continue to communicate their analysis, evaluations, and views on these whale proposals.

3. Brown bear (Ursus arctos) to Appendix 1: Finland. Bulgaria, and Jordan submitted a proposal to transfer all Asian and European populations of the brown bear to Appendix I. It is a proposal that may elicit significant attention at the COP. The adoption of this proposal will leave only North American bears and polar bears in CITES Appendix II.

4. There was a discussion of the proposals submitted by Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia to downlist their African elephant populations (Loxodonta africana) to Appendix II, with numerous annotations to allow trade in stockpiles, live animals, and skins and meat (Zimbabwe only). It was noted that the three proposals are different in terms of language and various elements of the annotations. It was noted that the Panel of Experts Report (under Conf. 7.9) is not yet available.

All three countries agreed that the proposals are complicated, and present numerous enforcement concerns. All 3 will communicate closely as they review and evaluate the proposals.

5. Southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum): amendment of annotation: South Africa has submitted a proposal to amend its annotation for the species, to allow trade in rhino horns (although with a zero quota initially).

The countries agreed that this proposal poses serious enforcement, implementation, and legal issues.

6. Jaguar (Panthera onca): Venezuela submitted a proposal to establish annual export quotas for hunting trophies, with zero quotas in the first three years, followed by actual quotas thereafter. Mexico noted that its legislation gives full protection to jaguars, with a hunting ban. Mexico has a new ecotourism project on jaguar. Therefore, Mexico cannot support Venezuela's proposal

The countries agreed that opening this trade would create concerns throughout the region for the species.

COP10 RESOLUTIONS AND AGENDA ITEMS The countries discussed some of the draft resolutions submitted by the United States and other countries (none were submitted by Canada or Mexico).

1. The U.S. presented the resolution it submitted dealing with establishment of a CITES Marine Fish Species Working Group. The U.S. noted that it reviewed the status of several shark species subject to commercial fisheries. The U.S. found that several of the shark species qualified for inclusion in CITES Appendix II. However, due to major implementation concerns regarding listing of these shark species in Appendix II, the U.S. decided not to submit those proposals to COP10. In order to evaluate these implementation concerns, the U.S. decided instead to submit a resolution to CITES to establish a Marine Fish Species Working Group to evaluate these implementation issues, which would function similarly to the Timber Species Working Group established at COP9.

2. The U.S. discussed the bred-in-captivity issue, noting that it submitted a resolution to COP10.

3. The U.S. discussed its document that it submitted to CITES dealing with invasive (alien) species, which provides a link between CITES and the Convention on Biological Diversity. The countries agreed to review the document and provide comments and input to the U.S.

4. The U.S. discussed its document on establishment of CITES committees, which provided an opportunity to explain the rationale behind the document.

Other issues

Mexico asked Canada and the U.S. to submit their portions ofth'e North American Regional Report by March.

Mexico and Canada agreed to submit their text to Mexico.

The countries discussed regional representation on CITES committees. They agreed to communicate further on this issue between now and COP10 (regarding the Animals. Plants, and Standing Committees). The U.S. agreed to facilitate Mexican participation in any committee meetings.

The U.S. presented its proposed new permit form. Any comments from Mexico or Canada should go directly to Maggie Tieger, Chief of Permits. The new permit form and computer system will be finalized within the next 60 days.


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