Conservation of Threatened and Endangered Species

The Wider Caribbean Region is home to a diverse range of species including marine mammals, sea turtles and coral species, many of which are considered threatened or endangered.Threats currently facing coastal and marine species include unsustainable fishing practices and gear use, coastal developments and pollution.

Aware of the crucial importance of species, Articles 10, 11 and 21 of the SPAW Protocol call for the implementation of programmes in order to protect the species listed under Annexes I, II and III.

The main objectives of this programme element are to:

  • Build consensus in the region on priorities for the conservation and management of threatened and endangered species, including migratory species, as well as those species not yet threatened but requiring action to prevent them from being threatened and endangered;
  • Implement priority activities of existing species recovery and management plans developed under the framework of SPAW;
  • Develop, as appropriate, adequate management plans and programmes for priority species of regional concern, including those of economic importance; and
  • Address the growing threat of invasive alien species (IAS) that could negatively impact on SPAW species and WCR habitats, especially marine or coastal IAS.

In keeping with the SPAW Protocol and Contracting Parties’ decisions, specific attention is currently being paid to the following species, or groups of species:

Overall there will be greater collaboration with CITES towards enforcement on illegal trade of species

Marine Mammals

In keeping with the priorities identified at SPAW COP8 in 2014 and progress made to-date with activities implemented since the adoption of the MMAP in 2008, and the achievements under the LifeWeb project “Broad-Scale Marine Spatial Planning of Mammal Corridors and Protected Areas in the Wider Caribbean and Southeast and Northeast Pacific”, the following will be implemented pending the availability of resources in 2017-2018:

Develop a strategy to implement the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between the UN Environment-CAR/RCU and the International Whaling Commission (IWC) that will support issues and activities identified above, among others (currently under discussion).

Sea Turtles

In collaboration with the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), the following activities will be given priority during the biennium:

  • Support the elaboration of Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plans (STRAPs) in countries that do not have plans.
  • Support existing STRAPs through the implementation of national priority actions, in particular the provision of training as it relates to educators, law enforcement officers, veterinarians and first responders.
  • Collaborate further with the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC) on STRAP development and other sea turtle activities to ensure that work is not duplicated.
  • Continue to promote standard guidelines and criteria for Index Site monitoring at sea turtle foraging grounds in the WCR and provide training for nesting beach and in-water population monitoring.

To date 14 STRAPs have been produced for:

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas)

  1. Antigua and Barbuda
  2. Aruba
  3. Barbados
  4. Belize
  5. British Virgin Islands
  6. Jamaica
  7. Netherlands Antilles
  8. Panama
  9. St. Kitts and Nevis
  10. St. Lucia
  11. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  12. Suriname
  13. Trinidad and Tobago
  14. Venezuela

Publication of special interest concerning the status of hawksbill turtles in the region.

Invasive Alien Species (IAS)

This will focus on sharing general data across the region and research on Sargassum, and involve improved response coordination and information sharing between countries on how to control the algae. Specific activities to be implemented through the SPAW-RAC will include the:

  • Facilitation of an on-line Sargassum forum to enable the sharing of regional data.
  • Coordination of data sharing on the management and impact of Sargassum in the wetlands with the Caribbean Wetlands Regional Initiative Secretariat (CARIWET).
  • Organisation of a regional workshop on the management of Sargassum
  • Coordination of Sargassum-related projects and events throughout the WCR.
  • Development and sharing of informative documents for the general public, governments, coastal managers, and others concerned by the issue.
  • Provision of research support for projects on Sargassum’s origins, impacts and control methods.

Coordination of a cohesive Sargassum response amongst the CEP Secretariat and Secretariats of the Abidjan Convention, UN Environment GPA, and other UN Environment Programmes involved in assessing Sargassum landings in the WCR and West Africa.


  • Marine Mammal Factsheet 
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  • LifeWeb Factsheet
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SPAW Protocol Documents

  • SPAW Protocol (text only)

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  • Final Act, Resolutions 1990

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  • Final Act, Resolution, Appendix and Species Annexes I, II, III 1991

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  • SPAW Factsheet

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  • SPAW Brochure

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  • SPAW Benefits Sheet

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  • Guildines for Marine Mammal Watching in the WCR
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  • Ratification Map

      Ratification Map