Fish and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) developing a method to identify high risk commercially-exploited aquatic organisms in trade and an analysis of the potential applications of MEAs
The following report was commissioned by JNCC to explore means by which a strategic overview could be taken of the risks posed to aquatic organisms (fish and invertebrates) by commercial exploitation for international trade. In doing so, it might then be possible to identify those species at greatest potential risk from over-exploitation and for which the application of multi-lateral environmental agreements such as CITES or CMS , as complementary measures to fisheries management, might make a tangible difference to their conservation and sustainable use.
The project did not aim to assess whether the highest risk
species identified met the specific criteria for listing within the
Appendices to CITES or CMS, nor was it intended to identify a
‘shopping list’ of candidates for listing. Rather, it was intended
that this project should help to inform thinking on whether, or
how, both Conventions might better complement fisheries management
and fish conservation.
TRAFFIC was contracted to undertake the review based on an
approach developed by an FAO appraisal of the suitability of the
CITES criteria for listing commercially-exploited aquatic
species. That approach suggests that risks faced by aquatic
species can be characterized in terms of:
- vulnerability: related to the inability (for bio-ecological
reasons) of a species to sustain the levels of exploitation that it
may be subjected to, this factor could also be called
- value: related to the profitability of the species’
exploitation, this factor could also be called ‘economic
- violability: related to the extent to which conventional
management measures may be circumvented, this factor could also be
called ‘compliance risk’.
The results of TRAFFIC’s application of this approach are
presented in this report and its associated database*.
In developing this method, the authors identified a number of
practical difficulties in applying the approach taken. As a result,
an expert workshop was held to provide peer review of the method
and to identify ways in which it might be improved. The outcome of
this workshop, with its various recommendations, forms an addendum
to this report; the two should be read in combination.
In order to take forward the workshop recommendations, a further
application of the method, with refinements, to a single taxonomic
group (namely sharks) has been commissioned from TRAFFIC. The
outcome of this will be reported separately.
* - NB the database will be provided here in the near
A related article in Nature News can be found here
Please cite as: Sant, G., Goodman, G., Crook, V., Lack, M. & Oldfield, T.E.E, (2012), Fish and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) developing a method to identify high risk commercially-exploited aquatic organisms in trade and an analysis of the potential applications of MEAs, JNCC Report 453, ISBN 0963 8091