The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)1973

CITES is the international body regulating trade in whale and dolphins and anything made of cetaceans. It has historically looked to the IWC for a lead on whether whales should be in trade. It has recently increasingly played a role in regulating trade in some of the smaller species of dolphins also

The main CITES Structure consists of three appendices. Appendix 1 list those species threatened with extinction and regarding which international trade is strictly regulated and allowed only under special circumstances, subject to both an export permit and import permit.

Appendix II species list ‘ (a) all species which although not necessarily now threatened with extinction may become so unless trade in specimens of such species is subject to strict regulation in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival; and (b) other species which must be subject to regulation ion order that trade in specimens of certain species referred to in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph may be brought under effective control.

All cetaceans not listed on Appendix I, are listed on Appendix II. Trade in Appendix II species is subject to an export permit that can be issued subject to certain conditions, including the confirmation by a scientific authority of the state of export that the export will not be detrimental o the survival of the species.

CITES has competency if international trade in cetaceans or cetacean products takes place, but the principle of national sovereignty permeates this agreement to limit its ability to intervene if not detriment findings by a exporting and importing country comply with CITES process requirements.

The CITES Website