Alien Organisms and trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
The Norwegian Environment Agency has assigned the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) to evaluate the scientific basis for the proposed changes to the regulation of trade in endangered species in Norway.
A major cause of wild animals and plants population decline is over-exploitation, including unsustainable hunting, poaching, harvesting and wildlife trade, both legal and illegal. Trade comprises whole animals and plants (dead or alive) as well as parts or derivatives of organisms.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) aims to prevent over-exploitation of species caused by trade across borders. Currently, more than 35,000 species are protected at various levels by listing in the Conventions three appendices.
Appendix I species are endangered, and trade is permitted only exceptionally and never for primarily commercial purposes. Appendix II species are not in immediate danger of extinction, but trade has to be controlled in order to ensure further survival. Appendix III includes species that are listed because they are regionally threatened, and one of the member countries has asked the other members of CITES for assistance in controlling trade.
CITES provides a baseline level of protection for the species listed under the Convention. However, Parties may adopt stricter measures where considered necessary. This may be relevant in cases where the domestic legislation to protect biodiversity relies on additional regulations. This is for example the situation in the EU, and as a result, some species are offered higher protection than that of CITES baseline level. In order to align with new resolutions adopted by the CITES as well as the stricter legislation of neighboring countries, the Norwegian Environment Agency is currently working on updating the Norwegian CITES legislation.
The Norwegian Environment Agency has assigned VKM to evaluate the scientific basis for the proposed listings and uplistings of the Annexes of the new Norwegian CITES regulations. The altogether 123 species include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, terrestrial invertebrates and plants. The gathered information on each species will be summarised in a species fact sheet.