CITES top grade protects important Cayman trade

| 16/05/2017 | 17 Comments

(CNS): International trade that involves the legitimate use of certain animal and plant species can continue without the fear of suspension, now that Cayman’s legislation protecting the environment has been rated fully compliant with all international standards regarding the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The environment ministry noted that this further demonstrates the environment’s value to a wide range of local businesses.

The rating allows Cayman business owners to continue international trade in relation to species that are commercially important locally but also CITES listed, such as black coral and queen conch.

“Cayman’s commerce and environment sectors both benefit tremendously from being CITES compliant,” said Environment Minister Wayne Panton. “This rating, for example, facilitates the importation of conch to continue without interruption, thereby allowing local restaurants to continue serving conch dishes year-round without the need to over-fish our local supply. Similarly, jewellery makers will be able to continue creating their artistic expressions with imported black coral.”

Panton also noted that being fully compliant will allow people to continue to export certain protected species. “This means that tourists who purchase crafts made with CITES-listed species will be able to do so with confidence, knowing they’ll be able to take their purchases back home. This is yet another clear advantage for local commerce,” he explained.

On 28 March, the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) told the local eenvironment ministry that Cayman had achieved category one fully compliant CITES status, which removed any possibility of restrictions being placed on the Cayman Islands with regard to the international trade of CITES-listed species.

Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie explained that if Cayman had not made the grade, there could have significant negative impacts on the marine environment in particular.

“If we had failed to earn category one status, and therefore faced the potential of restrictions on the importation of certain species such as conch, it would have put a tremendous strain on our natural resources,” she said. “It also would have affected the cost of doing business and subsequently, the price the public pays for goods.”

The CITES Secretariat, which is based in Switzerland, has been reviewing legislation around the world and judged that Cayman was compliant because of the legislative environment. The Endangered Species (Trade and Transport) Law 2004, which commenced on 1 July 2015, provides greater oversight for permits, importations, and other activities related to the trade and transportation of locally and internationally listed endangered species.

“Attaining this rating is a major accomplishment for Cayman and speaks to the sound legal framework put in place to govern our trade in certain plants and animals,” Panton stated. “It has taken more than a decade of work to get the law to this point, and high praise is in order for the ministry and Department of Environment staff for their dedication in seeing it through. I also thank Defra for their guidance and for acting as our agents when communicating with the CITES Secretariat.”

CITES is an international agreement for global species conservation that the Cayman Islands has been party to, and aimed to comply with, for decades, despite outdated legislation. It subjects international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls in order for those species to avoid the threat of extinction.

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Category: Land Habitat, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (17)

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  1. Sharkey says:

    Do we stop and realize what criminality is doing to us and the society. Crime is like cancer , if we don’t treat it in time it would take your life .
    Here we have crimes of all kinds , and we know something about it , but wouldn’t do or say anything about it . Because of fear or friend or family .

    We have to look at this behaviour , as enabllers not preventers .
    I think that we as the good Citizens of society needs to make it known to Government and the Police that we are not going to tolerate the criminals behaviour no longer , and we are going to help , but you Government and Police officers have to do your jobs and prosecute and protect us .

    We need to understand that the crime issue is getting bigger than the Islands , and soon
    it would be the commander and chief of the Islands , then that would be a for everyone .

  2. AZOTH says:

    Teach people not to eat it and that’ll solve the problem.

  3. The only says:

    Leviticus states conchs and all other shellfish are abomination to man. This is a God fearing Christian island. Anthony Eden?

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s not true , have you ever eaten conch or the clear worm from the conch , it does wonders for mankind .

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is just as ridiculous as the recent article about the Turtle Farm. Yes it is still a farm no matter what PR wants to call it.
    If an animal is endangered here, and they can get it elsewhere, is it right to continue to import it?
    No. Endangered is endangered.
    Answer form most sane people who don’t stand to make a buck is NO!!!!
    All of these creatures have been overfished and if the conch are not coming from Cayman waters they are coming form somewhere else where they are just as overfished.
    What part of “endangered” or w”when it’s gone it’s gone” don’t people understand?

    Enforcement is a huge issue and it has to be strong, not just giving people a slap on the wrist. The whole argument about “it’s our heritage” is rubbish.
    Other cultures have clamped down on overfishing and gone on to other things and they are thriving.
    It was never part of the culture to fish for 100’s of restaurants in GT that serve 100’s of people every night.
    Not one part of fishing on this Island is sustainable at the rate it is going and some fisheries are already well past the tipping point.

    Greed is a big motivator for a lot of people and that unfortunately translates into many species becoming endangered or even worse extinct.

    • Anonymous says:

      Endangered is endangered. And green iguanas are listed on CITES. Therefore there can’t be as many in my yard as there looks like, according to your logic. – When your basic premise is as misinformed as yours you end up with wrong conclusions, as you did.

  5. Anonymous says:

    There’s no point in claiming that importing conch is helping business year round if there is a total failure to enforce possession of local conch or lobster outside of closed seasons. All restaurants and street vendors should be required to sell all locally caught conch and lobster within one week of the end of season and then be required to produce legitimate receipts from approved suppliers for all conch/lobster in their possession until the start of the next season. Even then there should be stricter possession controls according to the law, none of which are enforced appropriately.
    Also, control the number of vendors selling conch shells to tourists, this only promotes wholesale poaching both in and out of season.

    • Anonymous says:

      I live near the sea in west bay and see young men coming out of the water with conch and lobster all the time. Law enforcement is and always will be a joke on the islands where locals are concerned.

      • Sharkey says:

        5:18pm you are just as bad as the poachers . When you see people who are doing something wrong , why don’t you try to educate then on the issue . If that don’t work then take pictures of them and turn it over to Law Enforcement . But make sure and keep a copy of them incase the Officer don’t prosecute then you could publicly say how the Officer is not doing his/her job .

        I think that this might be the smartest piece of Legislation that Government has ever did , if it’s enforced.

      • Anonymous says:

        Did you call law enforcement at any one of the times that you see them? No? Great!

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes I did ,and had many arrested ,but you are not old enough to know it .

          • Anonymous says:

            So they’ve been arrested, so law enforcement can’t be a joke. Make up your mind. Or at least stop spinning yarns on here to make yourself feel big.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m an ex pat. Why would I take a chance on the poacher being a relative or friend of someone who could mess with my life.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Why are our grocers allowed to import 3in long spiny lobster tails from ransacked third world coastlines, given DoE’s 6 inch minimum criteria? What kind of moral conscience message does that send? Is it somehow okay to take and sell juveniles from elsewhere?

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