This blog post was followed by a second post later in the day providing more information. -Ed.
Early this afternoon Eastern Standard Time, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement at the Port of Los Angles confirmed that wildlife inspectors were notifying aquarium trade import facilities in Southern California that it is now illegal to import any of the 20 species of coral recently listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This information appears inconsistent with statements released previously by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) saying that there would be no immediate effect of the listings on the marine aquarium trade. Several of the coral species listed are popular aquarium animals with regular imports to aquarium wholesale businesses located in Los Angeles. The announcement of the threatened listings under the ESA came in late August.
NMFS has jurisdiction over marine species listed under the Endangered Species Act, but law enforcement duties are handled by USFWS. A source with USFWS at the Port of Los Angles says he is attempting to confirm with Washington and NMFS that the interpretation of the law by Port of Los Angles Wildlife Inspectors is correct, but as of right now, importing one of the listed species would be in violation of the law.
Stay tuned as more information becomes available throughout the day.