This Protocol of the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention) came into force in 1986. Like CITES, it provides varying degrees of protection and regulation to wildlife species according to their conservation status. All marine turtles and all cetaceans are afforded total protection and recovery protection under SPAW through their listing in Annex II. Marine species such as queen conch (Strombus gigas) and spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) are listed in Annex III and as such, their use is regulated in order to ensure and maintain their populations at the highest possible levels. Another important part of the Protocol is the protection it affords to protected areas in the marine environment.
The SPAW Protocol came into force in 2000 when the 9th country ratified the agreement. At present the Contracting Parties consist of Barbados, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France, the Netherlands, Panama, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, and Venezuela. The United States ratified the SPAW Protocol on April 16, 2003.
The Wider Caribbean is a region of key importance to U.S. international conservation goals. We share responsibility for the protection and conservation of protected species with all the countries in the region. Through the activities of the SPAW Protocol, we can stay in close contact with them and collaborate on the methods to conserve the species we share.
Annex I of the SPAW Protocol lists plant species that are designated for total protection and recovery. Parties to the SPAW Protocol "shall prohibit all forms of destruction or disturbance, including the picking, collecting, cutting, uprooting or possession of, or commercial trade in such species, their seeds, parts or products. They shall regulate activities, to the extent possible, that could have harmful effects on the habitats of the species."
Annex II of the SPAW Protocol lists animal species that are designated for total protection and recovery. Parties to the SPAW Protocol "shall ensure total protection and recovery to the species of fauna listed in Annex II by prohibiting:
- The taking, possession or killing (including, to the extent possible, the incidental taking, possession or killing) or commercial trade in such species, their eggs, parts or products;
- To the extent possible, the disturbance of such species, particularly during periods of breeding, incubation, aestivation or migration, as well as other periods of biological stress."
Annex III of the SPAW Protocol lists animal and plant species. Parties to the SPAW Protocol "shall adopt appropriate measures to ensure the protection and recovery of the species of flora and fauna listed in Annex III and may regulate the use of such species in order to ensure and maintain their populations at the highest possible levels. With regard to species listed in Annex III, each Party shall, in co-operation with other Parties, formulate, adopt and implement plans for the management and use of such species, including:
- For species of fauna:
- The prohibition of all non-selective means of capture, killing, hunting and fishing and of all actions likely to cause local disappearance of a species or serious disturbance of its tranquility;
- The institution of closed hunting and fishing seasons and of other measures for maintaining their population;
- The regulation of the taking, possession, transport or sale of living or dead species, their eggs, parts or products;
- For species of flora, including their parts or products, the regulation of their collection, harvest and commercial trade."