Universal tagging system for the identification of crocodilian skins

Universal tagging system for the identification of crocodilian skins

AWARE that all living crocodilian species are listed in Appendix I or II, but CONCERNED that several crocodilian species may be subject to some levels of illegal trade;

RECOGNIZING that certain populations of crocodilians may be transferred from Appendix I to Appendix II subject to specified annual export quotas and that these export quotas are to ensure that the annual take from these populations is not detrimental to their survival;

RECOGNIZING that illegal trade threatens the survival of certain populations of crocodilians and has undermined the efforts of producer countries to manage their crocodilian resources on a sustainable basis;

RECALLING that Article VI, paragraph 7, of the Convention provides that specimens of species listed in the Appendices may be marked to assist in identifying them;

CONSIDERING that the tagging of all crocodilian skins in international trade has been and still is a fundamental step towards the effective regulation of international trade in crocodilians and that Resolutions Conf. 6.17 and Conf. 9.22 to this effect were adopted by the Conference of the Parties at its sixth and ninth meetings (Ottawa, 1987; Fort Lauderdale, 1994);

NOTING the existence of a register of manufacturers able to produce tags for the marking of crocodilian skins, established and maintained by the Secretariat;



a)    the maintenance of a universal tagging system for the identification of raw, tanned, and/or finished crocodilian skins by the general application of non-reusable tags to all crocodilian skins entering international trade from the countries of origin;

b)    that crocodilian skins, flanks and chalecos be individually tagged before export;

c)    that the non-reusable tags include, as a minimum: the ISO two-letter code for the country of origin; a unique serial identification number; a standard species code (as provided in Annex 1); and, where appropriate, the year of skin production or harvest, in accordance with the provisions of Resolution Conf. 11.16 (Rev. CoP15), adopted by the Conference of the Parties at its 11th meeting (Gigiri, 2000) and amended at its 14th and 15th meetings (The Hague, 2007; Doha 2010); and further, that such tags have as a minimum the following characteristics: a tamper-resistant, self-locking mechanism, heat resistance, inertia to chemical and mechanical processing, and alphanumeric information, which may include bar-coding, applied by permanent stamping;

d)    that the year of skin production or harvest and serial number be separated with a hyphen (-) where the information on tags appears in the sequence: country of origin, year of skin production or harvest, serial number, species code;

e)    that, for the labelling of skins derived from crocodilian hybrids, the designation HYB or, where the parentage is known, the two three-letter codes for the parents, separated by the character ‘x’ (e.g. PORxSIA where the hybrid is a cross between Crocodylus porosus and Crocodylus siamensis), be used instead of the standard species codes in Annex 1 of this Resolution;

f)    that tails, throats, feet, backstrips, and other parts be exported in transparent, sealed containers clearly marked with a non-reusable tag or label together with a description of the content and total weight, and all the information required for tags for individual skins, flanks and chalecos, as outlined in paragraphs c), d) and e);

g)    that Parties establish, where legally possible, a system of registration or licensing, or both, for producers, tanners, importers and exporters of crocodilian skins;

h)    that all countries permitting re-export of raw, tanned, and/or finished crocodilian skins implement an administrative system for the effective matching of imports and re-exports and, further, ensure that skins and flanks are re-exported with the original tags intact unless the pieces originally imported have been further processed and cut into smaller pieces;

i)     that, where the original tags have been lost, damaged, or removed from raw, tanned, and/or finished skins, flanks and chalecos, the country of re-export should tag such skins, flanks or chalecos prior to re-export, with a 're-export tag' meeting all the requirements of paragraph c) above except that the country of origin and standard species codes and years of skin production and/or harvest will not be required; and further, that the same information as is on these tags should be given on the re-export certificate together with details of the original permit under which the skins, flanks and chalecos were imported;

j)     that Parties accept export permits, re-export certificates or other Convention documents for trade in crocodilian skins and parts thereof only if they contain the information referred to in paragraph c), f), i) or j), as appropriate, and if the related skins and parts thereof are tagged in accordance with the provisions of this Resolution;

k)    that Parties, with the advice of the Secretariat if appropriate, implement a management and tracking system for tags used in trade as outlined in Annex 2 to this Resolution; and

l)     that Management Authorities ensure that tags not affixed to skins, flanks and chalecos in the year specified on the tag are destroyed;

DIRECTS the Secretariat to report deficiencies of the system or specific instances of concern to the Animals Committee and the relevant Parties, as appropriate; and

REPEALS the Resolutions listed hereunder:

a)    Resolution Conf. 6.17 (Ottawa, 1987) – Implementation of the export quota for Nile and saltwater crocodile skins; and

b)    Resolution Conf. 9.22 (Fort Lauderdale, 1994) – Universal tagging system for the identification of crocodilian skins.

Annex 1

Codes for the identification of crocodilian species



Alligator mississippiensis


Alligator sinensis


Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis


Caiman crocodilus chiapasius


Caiman crocodilus crocodilus


Caiman crocodilus fuscus


Caiman latirostris


Caiman yacare


Crocodylus acutus


Crocodylus cataphractus


Crocodylus intermedius


Crocodylus johnsoni


Crocodylus mindorensis


Crocodylus moreletii


Crocodylus niloticus


Crocodylus novaeguineae


Crocodylus palustris


Crocodylus porosus


Crocodylus rhombifer


Crocodylus siamensis


Gavialis gangeticus


Melanosuchus niger


Osteolaemus tetraspis


Paleosuchus palpebrosus


Paleosuchus trigonatus


Tomistoma schlegelii



Annex 2

Management and tracking system for tags used in the crocodilian skin trade

1.    The CITES Secretariat should establish, maintain, and amend periodically thereafter, a list of approved sources capable of manufacturing tags that meet the minimum requirements as laid down in paragraph c) of this Resolution; and further, the Secretariat should regularly give notice to the Parties of such sources and each Management Authority should obtain tags to mark crocodilian skins, flanks and chalecos only from these approved sources.

2.    Any approved tag manufacturer registered by the Secretariat should first agree, in writing, that it will:

  a) not duplicate any series of tags produced in accordance with this Resolution; and
  b)  sell such tags only to Management Authorities or, in non-party States, to designated government agencies recognized by the Secretariat in accordance with Resolution Conf. 9.5 (Rev. CoP15), or to bodies approved by these agencies.

3.    Upon request by a Management Authority, the Secretariat should purchase and distribute tags for crocodilian skins, and should require advance payment, except if external funding becomes available for Parties requiring assistance.

4.    When issuing export permits or re-export certificates for crocodilian skins, or other specimens referred to in this Resolution, Parties should record the numbers of the tags associated with each document and make this information available to the Secretariat on request.

5.    The Management Authorities of the exporting, re-exporting and importing Parties should provide to the Secretariat, when directed by the Standing Committee or agreed to between the range State and the CITES Secretariat, a copy of each export permit, re-export certificate, or other Convention document for crocodilian skins, flanks or chalecos immediately after issuance or receipt as appropriate.

6.    Parties that require or intend to require the use of tags or labels for containers should send to the Secretariat at least one sample tag or label for reference.

* Amended at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties.

Document status
Conf. 11.12 (Rev. CoP15)
Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties
Document type