The United Nations' Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is restricting exports from the Caribbean of queen conch shellfish, amidst fears that stocks are collapsing.

CITES says 3,100 tons were landed in 2001, mostly for sale in the USA and France, down from 5,500 tons in 1999 and 4,500 in 2000.

This has partly resulted from fishing bans in Bermuda, Cuba, Colombia, the USA, Mexico, the Netherlands Antilles, the US Virgin Islands and Venezuela, but further action is required says CITES.

It has pressured the Dominican Republic and Honduras into blocking exports and has asked CITES members to block imports from Haiti, which has failed to introduce conservation measures.