United States enters SPAW Protocol reservations, reiterates conservation commitments [Media Note]
The United States today entered reservations on 21 species listings made under the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol) to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention).
The new listings were adopted at the conference of SPAW Protocol parties held in October 2023, requiring parties to have in place appropriate measures to protect the Caribbean reef shark and 16 species of parrotfish and enhancing previously adopted protections for the oceanic whitetip shark, the giant manta ray, the whale shark, and the Lesser Antillean iguana. Without these reservations, each listing would have become effective for the United States on January 3, 2024.
The United States has taken these reservations in order to allow time to complete a thorough review regarding domestic implementation of the listing requirements.
The United States remains fully committed to the conservation of the newly listed species and the conservation objectives of the SPAW Protocol and will continue to work with other SPAW parties to further the conservation of these species throughout the wider Caribbean region.
The United States intends to complete its review and any associated steps as quickly as possible so that it may be in a position to withdraw the reservations.
For additional information about the new species listings please see the Federal Register Notice published February 14, 2023. For information on the SPAW Protocol generally please visit the NOAA SPAW Protocol website.