Fact Sheet: SPAW Protocol (Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife) | Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) Skip to content Skip to navigation

Fact Sheet: SPAW Protocol (Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife)


The Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention) and its Protocol for Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol) establishes that Contracting Parties have the obligation to regulate the protection of the vulnerable species and ecosystems of the region.

The revised criteria for the nomination of species (1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10) determines the need to include essential species for vulnerable ecosystems - such as coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses - in the species lists of Annexes II and III of the SPAW Protocol.

The national or regional measures imply in a different way protection processes, biological monitoring of species, fishing recovery zones; analysis of catch data, health status of ecosystems, population dynamics and size; closed periods; and regulation of the capture, possession, transport, trade or total prohibition of the use of the species.

In 2018, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) prioritized the evaluation of herbivorous fish and currently the Species Working Group carries out the evaluation of parrotfish through the integration and analysis of scientific and regulatory data.

Eleven of the 17 countries that have signed the Protocol have generated regulatory measures on herbivorous fish. Some regulatory experiences are in force, others are not, and there are those that came into force recently.




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