International Ornithological Association
Founder Member COM-UK

Affiliated to the Confederation Ornithologique Mondiale

CSUG Meeting Minutes – Tuesday 7th November 2017

CITES Sustainable Users Group (CSUG) Meeting

11am-1pm, 7 November 2017, Rm G1, Horizon House, Bristol



Drew Bain (Guild of Taxidermists)

Steven Beadle (IOA)

Elizabeth Biott (Defra)

Sophie Bird (APHA)

Kris Blake (Defra)

Jim Collins (SUN)

Martyn Denney (Cyclamen Society)

Alejandro Doyle (Defra)

Mike Gates (Owl Society)

Martin Jones (Falconry online)

Elaine Kendall (Defra – chair)

Alison Littlewood (JNCC)

Jenny Lomas (ABO)

Gordon Mellor (The Hawk Board)

Kim McDonald (Guild of Taxidermists)

Sam Miller (Burberry)

Elif Skinner (Defra)

Dominic Whitmee (OATA)

Simon Woods (APHA)

Agnieska Dabrowska (APHA)


Peter Beare (Beare Violins Ltd)

Paul McManus (MIA)

Chris Newman (REPTA)

Fran Nicholls (APHA)

Dr Conor O’Gorman (BASC)

Alan Robinson (IOA)


Helen Bulmer (NWCU)

Mark Dodgson (BADA)

Matt Ford (Specialist Wildlife Services)

Graham Irving (The Hawk Board)

Laurence Jessup (UK Border Force)

Otis Long (Defra)

Amy Mathias (Border Force)

Grant Miller (UK Border Force)

Nicky Needham (BIAZA)

Dr Kirsten Pullen (BIAZA)

Noeleen Smyth (Kew)

1. Welcome and introductions

Elaine Kendall welcomed attendees to the meeting and outlined the changes to Defra’s International Species Team (see Item 3 below).

2. Agree minutes of meeting on 3 August and action point update

The minutes of the last meeting were agreed with alterations to Item 3. Under Scientific Review Group (SRG79) meeting, 21 June 2017, ‘redwood’ should read ‘rosewood’ and Noeleen Smyth (Kew) suggested a couple of additional amendments to that paragraph and also under Rose Simpson (RS) (KEW) provided feedback on the Plants committee (23rd -27th July), including amendments to Action Point 5 to read:

Action point 5 – Referral of discussions on ANNOTATION #15 which covers instruments made from Rosewood, discussion from plants committee to standing committee. 

Also, under Feedback on (i) 29th Animals Committee and (ii) 23rd Plants Committee meetings ‘Bandai fish’ should read ‘Banggai cardinalfish’.

AP1: Martin Jones asked for Defra to circulate “tree” of contacts for new Defra staff including IWT team. Update: An organogram for the International Species Conservation Team and the APHA licensing team will be circulated with the minutes. 

Action point 1: Defra to circulate an organogram of Defra and APHA team contact details with the minutes.
Action point 2: Defra to provide Dominic Whitmee (OATA) with contact details for the Defra Illegal Wildlife Trade Team.

AP2: Meeting to be arranged between BF, MIA, Defra and APHA to discuss organising a meeting on licencing to help inform members.  Update: Elaine Kendall reported that a lot had been done by email correspondence but there were still some outstanding problems relating to musical instruments and so more dialogue was needed. 

Action point 3: Defra to organise a meeting with the MIA, Kim McDonald, at least one auction house and instrument dealer to discuss the Dalbergia issue.

AP3: JNCC to look into the issue (of salamander Bsal disease).  Update: Dominic Whitmee (OATA) reported that he is working closely with the EU commission and that a system has been set up to help control the disease.  He said they are getting more information from other member states than the UK Government and that a conversation is needed with Defra, APHA or JNCC to discuss how the system should be implemented.  Elaine Kendall agreed to discuss this with Dominic Whitmee outside the meeting.

Action point 4: Elaine Kendall and Dominic Whitmee (OATA) to discuss how the system should be implemented to control the Bsal pathogen.

AP4: Vin to respond on the issue (of Banggai cardinalfish) if possible. Update: Alison Littlewood (JNCC) reported that Banggai cardinalfish are currently listed in Annex D of the EU Regulations. This only requires the importer to fill in an import notification which then enables levels of trade to be monitored. This listing is unlikely to change.

AP5: Referral of discussions on ANNOTATION #15 which covers instruments made from Rosewood, discussion from plants committee to standing committee. Update: Noeleen Smyth (Kew) reported that it was to be discussed at the Standing Committee as to whether to change Annotation 15 to exclude musical instruments. But that the annotation can only be changed at the CoP. Noeleen said that she could supply some of the EU discussion papers and that it would be useful to have UK industry comments to feed in and asked for any comments as soon as possible.

Action point 5: Comments to Noeleen Smyth on amendments to Annotation #15 by close 10 November.

AP6: CITES team agreed to feedback traders views to Invasives team. Update: Done.

AP7: Organise new meeting before (CMS) CoP 12. Update: A meeting was held with NGOs.

AP8: JC asked for Management Committee dates from EK. Update: Elaine Kendall reported that the only available Management Committee date currently is for the meeting next week on 14 November 2017.

Action point 6: Defra to look up Management Committee dates for 2018 and circulate to the group.

3. Corporate update

Defra staff changes in Bristol:

  • Alejandro Doyle is new to the team taking on the role of Stacey Hughes and replacing Calum Rivers Cole who left the team to go to university. Alejandro is now the contact for any matters Stacey dealt with previously.
  • Elaine Kendall is still head of the team.
  • Elif Skinner has been promoted and is Elaine’s deputy working on CITES and CMS.
  • Elizabeth Biottis doing Elif’s previous role having moved across from the Illegal Wildlife Trade Team.
  • Kris Blake is a Civil Service fast streamer working for a year on CITES, COTES and EU Exit.

Defra staff changes elsewhere:

Claire Hamilton left for the Scottish Office and has been replaced by Jane Stratford. [Post meeting update: Following a restructure the International Species Conservation Team now sits under Nicola Leeds not Jane Stratford.]

APHA staff changes:

Simon Woods (APHA) reported that Simon Hewitt has left on a career break and Aled Edwards has temporarily taken over his role which is going to be filled permanently in due course.

Fran Nichols is the temporary Operations Manager, Sophie Bird is the temporary Delivery Manager and Lydia Andrews is now a Team Leader.  Both posts are to be advertised at the end of this month.

There are also five new case officers on fixed term appointments currently being trained.

Kew staff changes:

Noeleen Smyth reported that there are two new staff members at Kew:

Sonia Dhanda (Scientific Officer) working on license applications.

Valentina Vaglica (Scientific Officer) joining Kew from CITES MA Malta and working on Rosewood and timber issues on a 6 month contract.

4. EU and international meetings

(i)  Scientific Review Group (SRG80) meeting, 18 September 2017

On animals Alison Littlewood (JNCC) reported that it was a fairly low key routine meeting and no major changes were made.  The SRG is starting to think about proposal species for listing or delisting at CoP18.  Alison stated that the proposals for listing are not available yet but that she would be happy to engage at any time and take proposals for listing or delisting on board now.  Steven Beadle (IOA) stated that the IOA would like to be included in any bird discussions.

SUN requested an update and the reasoning behind putting a prohibition on importation of two Tanzanian chameleons (Furcifer Spp,) and several species of Madagascan Day Geckos (Phelsuma Spp.).  Alison said that she was unable to find these species on the SRG papers but would look into it after the meeting.

Action point 7: Alison Littlewood to look into this and provide Jim Collins (SUN) with information directly.

On plants Noeleen Smyth (Kew) reported that rosewoods and snowdrops dominated the discussions.  Georgia has used its quota up of 15 million snowdrop bulbs.

(ii) 79th Management Committee / 8th Expert Group, 19 September 2017

Elaine Kendall stated that the UK is engaging more in this group than other EU member states. It is unclear what is going to happen when the UK leaves the EU.  As follow up from this meeting the UK has fed comments in on the rhino horn guidance document and responded to a question on whaling and provided information on whale meat.

(iii) 35th Enforcement Group, 9-10 October 2017

Grant Miller (Border Force) informed the group that this meeting was postponed and is taking place now, hosted by Europol in The Hague.  An update of this meeting will be provided at the next CSUG meeting.

(iv) Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) CoP12, 23-28 October 2017

Elaine Kendall and Elif Skinner attended this meeting.  32 species were added to the CMS appendices such as leopard, lion, chimpanzee, wedge fish, angel shark and African wild ass.  Listing on CMS is different to being listed on CITES as it does not necessarily impact on trade.

Under the National legislation programme countries need to demonstrate they have legislation in place to implement CMS.  In many cases this can rely on existing legislation e.g. the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

A preventing poisoning workshop is to be set up.  This is not seeking to ban lead shot but managing shooting operations to move away from lead shot.

On the illegal killing of birds there is a scorecard tool parties can use to understand illegal killing in their geographical area.  This could be a useful enforcement tool.

Steven Beadle stated that the IOA believes the use of a better quality ring would wipe out illegal activity.  IOA members would be prepared to use a better ring.

Action point 8: Defra to feedback this information on the use of better quality rings to the Defra Wild Birds Team and to check is anything is happening through that team.

(v) 81st Scientific Review Group, 13 November 2017

Alison Littlewood (JNCC) and Noeleen Smyth (KEW) will be attending this meeting in Brussels next Monday.  Animals likely to be discussed include python reticulatus, chameleons from Madagascar, reptiles from Ghana and European eel. Plants likely to be on the agenda include snowdrops, rosewoods and a report from Brazil on mahogany.  Dominic Whitmee (OATA) raised the issue that there are is a long list of negative and no opinions on corals and the commission has asked OATA for comments and contacts and advice on how to distinguish between different types.

Action point 9:  Alison Littlewood (JNCC) to check if corals are on the agenda.

(vi) 80th Management Committee and 9th Expert Group, 14 November 2017

Elaine Kendall reported that she is going to the CITES Management Committee next week where the main thrust of the EU position for the CITES SC is to be negotiated.

5. 69th Standing Committee (SC69) meeting, 27 November – 1 December 2017

The UK delegation is Elaine Kendall, Elif Skinner and Kris Blake from Defra, Alison Littlewood from JNCC and Noeleen Smyth from Kew.  Debbie Hembury from the Defra Illegal Wildlife Trade Team may also be attending.

Elaine stated that the UK will maintain strong engagement on Asian Big Cats, primarily tigers, elephants (African and Asian), rhinos, sei whales, eels, sharks and rays, rosewood and cross-cutting issues such as compliance and enforcement and the revision of the CITES strategic vision. Elaine said that Defra is open to considering suggestions for priority areas and invited views.

Dominic Whitmee (OATA) stated that he is working on a position statement and would provide a copy to Defra.  OATA priorities include marine listings, the important of expert opinions, problems of delisting and down listing proposals, certificates in relation to Appendix 3 listings where applications are accepted in some countries and rejected in others and the need for the CITES Secretariat to produce guidance on this.  Also, the illegal wildlife trade, trafficking, enforcement issues and items 17.1 and 17.2 on livelihoods, and item 11.3 on the code of conduct for participating NGOs.

6. Updates:

(i) UK ivory controls

Otis Long provided a general update on ivory. The government has launched a consultation on proposals to introduce a total ban on UK sales of ivory with certain narrowly defined and carefully targeted exemptions, e.g. musical instruments, historic, artistic or cultural.  Lots of responses have been received so far. The deadline for comments is 29 December and stakeholders were encouraged to respond as the consultation responses will be used to finalise the details.  The consultation response will be published but the exact timeframe cannot be provided. It will then move into the legislation process with the intention to use primary legislation to implement the ban.

Consultees have found an issue with uploading documents to the consultation online where only one document at a time can be attached. The consultation team would be happy to receive additional documents to the email address on the consultation, or through the post.

(ii) COTES

Elaine Kendall advised that the finer details are still being negotiated but she is hoping legislation will come into force early April.  Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) are not being listed at this stage but will be listed in the future. This group will be consulted on BIPs.

(iii) Charging regime

Simon Woods (APHA) said that there was no update on APHA BIP charges since the last meeting.  Simon Woods would need to check if a response from ministers is still expected April 2018.

Plant Health has just issued a charging consultation and this raised concerns over the lack of an overview of APHA charges and the introduction of non-tariff barriers to trade which is not in line with EU Exit guidance.  Concern was expressed that UK companies will be substantially less competitive than EU countries and that a step back was needed to look at the overall concept.  Simon Woods to take away and investigate timescales and speak to the Plant Health Team.

Action point 10: Simon Woods to take away and investigate timescales for APHA BIP charges and to speak to the Plant Health Team regarding their charging consultation.

(iv) Brexit, including post Brexit regulatory framework and possibility of ‘imports’ post-Brexit from EU Member States for hobbyist aviculturists to have a specific term (and conditions) within legislation other than ‘pet birds’ or ‘commercial enterprises’

Elaine Kendall reported that the government is not any further along with changes since the last meeting and is still working on picking up and putting relevant EU legislation into UK legislation so it is up and running from day one.  This is not a quick process and more clarity is required.  In terms of CITES after EU Exit any EU member state will have to be treated as a third country and so import and export papers will be needed for everything rather than an Article 10.  There will be no free movement within Europe anymore.  It is not possible to keep the current system as that would contravene the convention.

Elaine proposed that a sub group, of say 6 people, meet to discuss this issue in greater detail to tease out all the issues.  It was suggested that interest should be expressed to Jim Collins who would then let Elaine know.  It was suggested that the issue raised over hobbyist aviculturists should be picked up in this sub group.

Action point 11: Group members interested in joining a Brexit sub group to inform Jim Collins. Jim Collins to relay a list of attendees to Elaine for a meeting to be organised.

Alison Littlewood reported that JNCC, Kew and UNEP – WCMC are doing a trade report to help inform EU exit and will be engaging with traders to get a better handle on the issues.

Dominic Whitmee (OATA) asked about the new customs declaration service being developed and whether it would track health certificates and CITES. Kris Blake reported that the plan is for the new system to be a one stop shop and that user engagement would be kept in mind during development of the system.

Dominic Whitmee (OATA) mentioned that Defra and UK Border Force had been criticised for their absence at business industry meetings organised by BEIS.

Action point 12: Dominic Whitmee (OATA) to send details of business industry meetings to Elaine Kendall.

7. Possibility of removing the requirement to register captive bred goshawks and golden eagles if an A10 certificate exists for the birds

Graham Irving (The Hawk Board) asked if it would be possible to remove the requirement to register captive bred goshawks and golden eagles if an A10 certificate exists for the birds as is currently the case for captive bred peregrines.  Elaine Kendall asked for the arguments to be put forward to her for these two species.  Elaine would have to pass this information to the Wild Birds Team and it would be unlikely to be taken forward until after Brexit.  But Defra would be open to having a look.

Action point 13: Graham Irving (The Hawk Board) to send Elaine Kendall the arguments for putting forward these two species.

8. CITES import by post

Drew Bain (Guild of Taxidermists) raised the issue that import permits are not always being stamped when CITES items are being imported into the UK by post.  This constitutes an illegal import.  The question was asked as to whether Defra can follow this up with companies to remind them of their responsibilities.  Laurence Jessup (UK Border Force) asked for information to be passed to him to look into the issue.  To be picked up again at a future meeting.

Action point 14: Group members to submit specific examples to Laurence Jessup (UKBF) where certificates have not been stamped.

9. A10 Transaction licenses covering EU Sales

Traders have experienced problems when selling items to other EU member states as they expect to see the original A10 licence (not a photocopy).  This presents a problem because A10 licenses issued in the UK are transaction licences for one trade only and once the items has been sold the original must be sent back to APHA for cancelation.  UK traders have had to explain to EU buyers that the UK licence is not valid in their country and that they must get another licence from their authorities.  This then results in numerous questions from the authorities.  CITES authorities in other countries should contact the APHA.

10. AOB and next meeting

Dominic Whitmee (OATA) raised the problems experienced by importers at BIPs e.g. the provision of veterinary staff in Manchester, the time taken to clear health certificates, IT systems collapsing and having to fax documents, all adding to time and money.  Dominic proposed a meeting e.g. with Border Force and APHA to try to determine the problems and come up with possible solutions.

Action point 15: Dominic Whitmee (OATA) to co-ordinate a meeting to discuss the problems experienced by imported at BIPs.

The next meeting will be held in approximately 3 months, possible late January/early February to take place just before the next Management Committee meeting.