Tough New Wildlife Import Regulations Proposed for US

19 Mar, 2013

New law would severely regulate the import and commerce in “non-native wildlife taxa”
As feared by some in the pet industry, new federal legislation that could halt the importation of many species of livestock and pets, including fish and aquatic organisms bred or collected for the aquarium trade has been introduced in Washington.

H.R. 996: Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act was introduced in the US House of Representatives by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) on March 6, 2013. H.R. 996 is a re-write of H.R. 669 dating back to 2008.

Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) sponsor of HR 996, a bill: To establish an improved regulatory process for injurious wildlife to prevent the introduction and establishment in the United States of nonnative
wildlife and wild animal pathogens and parasites that are likely to cause harm.

H.R. 996 has 28 co-sponsors and has been referred to four different committees: House Natural Resources- Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, House Budget, House Judiciary, House Ways and Means committees.

H.R. 996 seeks to set up an “accepted” (white) list of common domesticated pets and livestock (dogs, cats, goldfish, farm animals), and an “unaccepted” (black) list. By default the black list would cover everything not included on the “accepted” list, including, potentially, thousands of species of fish, aquatic invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians found in the pet trade.

This is a “guilty until proven innocent” approach that would add all “unaccepted” species to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act in one massive blanket listing. Hundreds of species could be prohibited as criminal acts to import or ship in interstate commerce and be subject to sanctions under the Lacey Act.

In addition to the 50 states of the US Union and the District of Columbia, the law would also cover: Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the US Virgin Islands.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), along with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) reportedly will introduce a companion bill into the US Senate later in this session.

According to the US Herpetological Alliance, “Most reptiles and amphibians would fall to the “unaccepted” list and be subject to sanctions,” and the Alliance is preparing to oppose this legislation.

Further Reading
Download H.R. 996 PDF 

Herp Alliance


“No Fish” Illustration (top): Evgenia Bolyukh/Shutterstock

Article reference: US Herp Alliance

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About the author

Reef To Rainforest
Reef To Rainforest

Reef to Rainforest Media, LLC is the publisher of award-winning magazines and books in the fields of aquarium keeping, aquatics, and marine science. It is the English-language publisher of CORAL and AMAZONAS Magazines and is based in Shelburne, Vermont, USA.


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