USFWS Notifies Aquarium Businesses that Importing Listed Corals is Illegal

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.

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About Ret Talbot

Ret Talbot is a freelance writer who covers fisheries at the intersection of science and sustainability. His work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Mongabay, Discover Magazine, Ocean Geographic and Coral Magazine. He lives on the coast of Maine with his wife, scientific illustrator Karen Talbot.
This entry was posted in Endangered Species Act (ESA), Ornamental Fisheries and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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