Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Input for International Wildlife Trade Meeting

April 11, 2012


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

In preparation for the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the publication of a notice seeking public comment on certain wildlife and plant species that are being evaluated for consideration at CoP16.

Based on a preliminary assessment of available trade and biological data and U. S. priorities, the Service has categorized species as “likely, ” “undecided, ” or “unlikely, ” which reflects the United States’ current thinking about submission of a proposal for consideration at CoP16. Over the next several months, the Service will consult with other countries and seek information from scientists, experts and the public on a number of species including Asian turtles, corals, sharks, polar bears, gyrfalcons, Hawaiian sandalwoods and walruses. Nautilids and bluefin tuna are among the species that the Service is “unlikely” to submit proposals for consideration at CoP16.

"Preparing for the 16th meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties is a process that began as soon as the last CoP ended, ” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “The Fish and Wildlife Service is continually evaluating species for consideration and seeking out additional biological and trade data, so that we can make the most informed decisions possible."

As the Service continues its evaluation, additional biological or trade information on individual species, particularly those listed as “undecided” in the Federal Register, will be especially helpful. The public comment period for this notice will remain open until June 11, 2012. A link to the complete list of species proposals, details on the proposed action and an explanation of the rationale for the tentative U. S. position can be found at

Before making a final decision on any species, the Service will take into account all trade or biological data that is received. In October of 2012, approximately 150 days before the start of CoP16, the Service will submit U. S. species proposals to be considered at CoP16.

CITES is an international agreement initiated in 1973 and since then ratified by 175 countries (referred to as “Parties”) to protect certain wild animals and plants against over-exploitation as a result of international trade. Approximately 34,000 species benefit from CITES protection.

Every two to three years, a meeting of the CoP – the world’s largest and most influential meeting on international wildlife trade – is held to review, discuss and negotiate changes in the implementation of CITES, including changes in protections for certain species. CoP16 is tentatively scheduled to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, March 3-15, 2013.

Species protected by CITES are included in one of three appendices. As a Party to CITES, the United States may propose amendments to the appendices for consideration at a CoP, including proposals for species to be included in, removed from, or transferred between the CITES appendices (i. e., species proposals). Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction and provides the greatest level of protection, including restrictions on commercial trade. Appendix II includes species that, although currently not threatened with extinction, may become so without trade controls. Changes to Appendices I and II must be proposed at a CoP and agreed to by a two-thirds majority of the Parties present and voting. In contrast, changes to Appendix III can be requested by individual Parties at any time. Appendix III includes species protected by at least one country, which needs assistance from other Parties to regulate international trade.

Written comments and information concerning this proposal can be submitted by one of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R9–IA–2011–0087.

U. S. Mail or Hand-Delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R9–IA–2011-0087; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

Comments must be received within 60 days, on or before June 11, 2012. The Service will post all comments on This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.

This notice is one of a series of Federal Register notices (supplemented by announcements via website postings and public meetings) that will be used to solicit public input while developing U. S. positions and proposals for the CoP16. The next Federal Register notice, scheduled to publish approximately nine months prior to the CoP, will seek public input on resolutions, decisions, and agenda items that the U. S might submit for consideration. These proposals are meant to provide clear guidance on the interpretation and effective implementation of CITES.

To learn more about the Service’s International Affairs program, visit:

Information contained in older news items may be outdated. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. Individual contacts have been replaced with general External Affairs office information. No other updates have been made to the information and we do not guarantee current accuracy or completeness.

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