Nature Foundation and Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Issue Guidelines and Restrictions for the Importation of Conch, Lobster, Other Species Listed Under Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)  

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation and the Departments of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries held a meeting last week to discuss issues pertaining to the import of species protected under the Convention of the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The Conservation NGO and the Government Department met to align the requirements needed for the import of CITES regulated species, in particular Conch and Lobster, into the country. “Last week we saw a significant confiscation of conch by the authorities on the French Side because that import did not adhere to particular standards. The Dutch Side also has rules and regulations managing the trade in species which fall under the CITES Convention, a convention which exists to regulate the trade in species that are faced with a reduced stock. Leading up to the Carnival Season we wanted to again reiterate what the necessary steps are to import CITES species, under which fall conch and lobster,” commented Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoet


Conch meat and shells, lobster and certain coral species fall under the Convention of the International Trade in Endangered Species and thus require a special permit to be able to transport them, alive or dead as shells. The importer or exporter needs to provide a valid health certificate from the country of export, a valid business license, and the quantity of the product has to be stated and the CITES permit has to be applied. Applicants are requested to submit documents to the Nature Foundation, CITES Management Authority, at their office in Cole Bay next to Island Water World or via email at in**@na*****************.org. Once the required documentation is submitted and a positive review has been completed an import or export permit will be granted. That permit will be valid only for one particular import or export. The trade in shark and turtle meat is prohibited. Violation of the abovementioned guidelines will result in fines being issued and confiscation of the product.


“We want to protect our ecosystems and that of the region from the illegal trade in protected and endangered species. We understand that leading into carnival season there is an increase in the demand for conch and lobster but we need to ensure that we are able to fulfil that demand for future generations as well. We also need to be especially careful regarding the upholding of international laws and treaties that Sint Maarten is party to. Therefore we are grateful for the continued cooperation between the Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, the Inspection Department and Customs in ensuring that no illegal trade wildlife occurs. And grateful to the general public for helping us ensure that Nature is our Future,” concluded Bervoets.