CITES species are wild animals and plants whose international trade is prohibited or limited to avoid their extinction. Specifically, they are the species included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, whose name in English is abbreviated as CITESas explained on the website of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO).
This agreement It entered into force on July 1, 1975 with the aim of preventing, through the application of common rules among the adherent States, “that the international trade in specimens of these animals and plants endangers their survival,” explains the ministry. Depending on the degree of threat affecting each species, there are different degrees of protection.
For those in danger of extinction, included in the Appendix I of the agreement, it is international trade prohibited except for non-commercial purposes (for example, for scientific purposes) and an export permit and an import permit are required. He Appendix II includes species that are not necessarily in danger of extinction, but whose trade must be controlled to regulate a use that is compatible with their survival. In this case the restrictions are more laxFor example, an import permit is not required. There’s a third appendage for those species already protected in a signatory State that has requested assistance from other States to control their trade, explains the official Web of the Convention.
The European Union has transposed the CITES agreement into two standards: the regulation 338/97 and the 865/2006, which details the previous one. Both harmonize the application of the convention in all Member States. “This means, in many cases, stricter trade measures” and that extend to species not protected by the agreement, according to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism. The EU can, for example, prohibit or restrict the import of certain species and/or origins even when the country of origin or provenance has authorized their export. In Spain, the current norm is the Royal Decree 986/2021.
CITES are both living animals and plants as a set of products derived from themsuch as foodstuffs (such as frog legs), exotic animal leather goods, bones, ivory, and teeth (carved or not), shells, claws, coral, feathers, scales, or hair, flowers, leaves, roots and rhizomes, instruments made with certain woods and those same raw woods, souvenir items for tourists and those for medicinal use with the same wild origin, among others, explains the ministry. Consult the complete list.
Despite adherence to the Convention, there is no supranational power, with its corresponding police power, that can force the signatory States to comply with it, but instead each one is responsible for its correct application in their territoryexplains the ministry.
The cover image is a Queen Victoria butterfly, from Robert NashCurator of the Entomology Ulster Museum.