Persons who intend to travel into or exit the BVI with endangered species of wild fauna and flora and their by-products are now required to apply for a permit to lawfully do so.

This was confirmed in a media release from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour which said the decision follows the new requirements called for under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in the Virgin Islands, which came into force on October 27, 2022.

Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour Mr. Mervin Hastings spoke on the new requirement.

He said, “It is very important that people are aware that CITES permits are required to enter into other countries with animals, plants or their by-products that are listed under CITES. Confiscations can and will happen and even arrest. International wildlife trade, both legal and illegal, has grown dramatically and is estimated to be a billion-dollar industry.”

“The CITES permitting system is to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable. Popular items leaving and entering the BVI that require CITES permits include by are not limited to; Conch Meat, Conch Shells, Conch Products (jewellery, pearls etc.), Corals and Coral Products, Pet Snakes, Pet Birds, Orchids,” he added.

CITES is an international agreement between governments with the aim of ensuring that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.

The BVI became a party to CITES on August 2, 1976 as a United Kingdom Overseas Territory.

With the passing of the new legislation, the BVI can now be considered for promotion to category one status for its harmonised national legislation.

The release also provided details on how persons can apply for permits through the Ministry of Natural Resource and Labour.

“Persons wishing to apply for a CITES permit may contact the Ministry via telephone at 1 (284) 468-2147, by email at, or by visiting the Ministry on the third (3rd) floor of the Pusser’s Warehouse in Lower Estate (behind Elmore Stoutt High School),” the release stated.