Information Officer I (Ag.)
Department of Information and Public Relations
Permits are now required to enter or leave the Territory with endangered species of wild fauna and flora and their by-products.
This follows the new requirements called for under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in the Virgin Islands, which came into force on the 27 October, 2022.
The Virgin Islands became a party to CITES on 2 August 1976 as a United Kingdom Overseas Territory. With the new legislation that was passed on 27 October now in effect, the Territory can now be considered for promotion to category one (1) status for its harmonised national legislation.
Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour Mr. Mervin Hastings said, “It is very important that people are aware that CITES permits are required to enter into other countries with animals, plants or their by-products that are listed under CITES. Confiscations can and will happen and even arrest. International wildlife trade, both legal and illegal, has grown dramatically and is estimated to be a billion dollar industry.”
Mr. Hastings added, “The CITES permitting system is to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable. Popular items leaving and entering the BVI that require CITES permits include by are not limited to; Conch Meat, Conch Shells, Conch Products (jewellery, pearls etc.), Corals and Coral Products, Pet Snakes, Pet Birds, Orchids.”
CITES is an international agreement between governments with the aim of ensuring that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species. States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention ('joined' CITES) are known as Parties. Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties, it does not take the place of national laws. It provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.
Persons wishing to apply for a CITES permit may contact the Ministry via telephone at 1 (284) 468-2147, by email at email@example.com, or by visiting the Ministry on the third (3rd) floor of the Pusser's Warehouse in Lower Estate (behind Elmore Stout High School).
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour is the local authority on CITES matters and administration. It continues to effectively administer the natural resources of the Territory in a manner that ensures long-term sustainabilit