CITES—the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora—is widely recognized as one of the most effective and best-enforced international conservation agreements. It offers protection to more than 30,000 species around the globe and has been instrumental in preventing the extinction of numerous plants and animals.
The international trade of wild animals and plants, including fish and other marine life, is a multibillion-dollar business.
Overexploitation for international trade, in combination with habitat loss and degradation, climate change, and other pressures, can threaten populations with significant depletion or, worst-case scenario, extinction.
It is crucial that any international trade in plants, animals, and their products be managed in a sustainable and legal way. CITES was established for this purpose. An international treaty among 177 governments, CITES entered into force in 1975.
Countries, referred to as “Parties,” join voluntarily and are legally bound to implement the Convention once they become members.
Although CITES is legally binding on Parties, it does not take the place of national laws, nor does it negate efforts under other treaties and agreements, including regional fisheries management organizations; rather, all are complementary.
The 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) will be held March 3-14, 2013, in Bangkok.
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Learn about the species being voted on:
Fact Sheet: Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks
Fact Sheet: Porbeagle Sharks
Fact Sheet: Oceanic Whitetip Shark
Fact Sheet: Manta Ray