Cayman earns approval on endangered species trade regulations

Cayman Islands businesses will be able to continue international trade of commercially important yet protected species without threat of suspension after being deemed fully compliant with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The multilateral agreement, drafted in 1973, aims to ensure commerce does not threaten the survival of plant and animal species.

The U.K.’s Department of Environment informed the Cayman Islands government on March 28 that the CITES Secretariat had found the country in full compliance with the convention, eliminating the possibility of restrictions being placed on Cayman for CITES-listed species.

The announcement comes after more than a decade of work by Cayman Islands lawmakers.

CITES is enforced in Cayman through the 2004 Endangered Species Law, which took effect in 2015.

Commerce and Environment Minister Wayne Panton said CITES compliance provides tremendous benefit to Cayman’s trade of products like black coral and queen conch.

“This rating, for example, facilitates the importation of conch to continue without interruption, thereby allowing local restaurants to continue serving conch dishes year-round, without the need to over-fish our local supply. Similarly, jewelry makers will be able to continue creating their artistic expressions with imported black coral,” Mr. Panton said in a press statement.

CITES compliance will also ensure tourists can take their conch and black coral purchases home without problems.

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