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SPAW Protocol

The Protocol is a binding agreement that contains obligations to identify and protect species at risk as well as establish and manage protected areas. It aims to preserve marine biodiversity and ecosystems so they can provide for enjoyment and use of the present and future generations.

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Honduras (2018) 

is the newest party


The SPAW has three Annexes. Annex I lists endangered plants; Annex II is for endangered animals; and Annex III is for species that need collective management measures to avoid becoming endangered. ​

All cetaceans, sea turtles, 4 species of coral, 2 species of sawfish,  and West Indian manatee are listed on Annex II.

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Briefly this means the parties agreed to ...


  • Direct taking & killing

  • Possession

  • Domestic trade in species & parts


  • Traditional subsistence & cultural needs of local communities

  • Scientific research

  • Management

  • Education


  • Incidental taking & killing

  • Incidental possession

  • Disturbance during nesting, breeding, migrating etc. 

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  • Scientific & technical research

  • Monitoring

  • Mutual assistance

Among other measures meant to help the species recover such as habitat protection, environmental impact assessments and regional recovery programmes.

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