Aquatics Committee FAQ

Aquatics Committee Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about important issues and activities involving your Aquatics Committee.

Your Aquatics Committee has received a number of inquiries as to why the committee was created, who can participate, what the committee is doing and why. Others have asked what is happening that is so important to the aquarium community at large, the industry, and to individual aquarium hobbyists as well as water gardeners.

Rather than periodically publishing lengthy reports, the Committee will maintain a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) area on the PIJAC website where you can visit to keep abreast of current issues, learn about latest events, find quick answers to why certain government activities are important to you, and find links to key documents for those that want to dive deeper!

Please email us additional questions you would like to see covered!

- Sandy Moore (Segrest Farms), Chris Buerner (Quality Marine) CO-Chairs
and Marshall Meyers, Advisor


Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question below to jump to the answer.

  1. What is PIJAC's Aquatics Committee?
  2. Why is there an Aquatics Committee?
  3. Who runs the Aquatics Committee?
  4. Who can be a member of the Aquatics Committee? How can I help if I do not qualify as a "member"?
  5. What can I do to support my industry, my hobby, and my love for aquatics?
  6. How does the Aquatic Committee use your donations?
  7. Why should I care when I am only involved with domesticated species or captive bred natives? BEWARE
  8. What are some of the common, and often dangerous, misperceptions about owning certain pets?
  9. What key aquatic issues is PIJAC currently monitoring?
  10. How does the Endangered Species Act (ESA) work?
  11. What does it take to list a species under the ESA?
  12. If a species is listed under the ESA, is it legal for me to possess, breed, acquire/sell, or otherwise deal with specimens? Is it OK for me to keep ESA-listed species only within my state?
  13. What did PIJAC do about the petition to list 83 species of Corals as endagered species?
  14. Why would coral frags be regulated under ESA since they are grown in closed systems; they are not removed from the wild; and they are not involved in international trade?
  15. Did PIJAC respond to the proposal to list 6 species of Damsel fish under ESA?
  16. Does the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) really involve aquatics?
  17. What is the Lacey Act and why should I care?
  18. Should I be concerned about invasive species?
  19. What is Habitattitudetm?
  20. What is IATA? How does it affect me?
  21. What are NISC and ISAC? Why should I care?
  22. What is the ANSTF?
  23. How can I find copies of Federal proposals? How can I comment? Where do I send my comments?
  24. How can I find copies of state proposals? Where do I send my comments?

1. What is PIJAC’s Aquatics Committee?

a. The Aquatics committee is a subcommittee of PIJAC’s Government Affairs Committee. The Committee is charged with monitoring and addressing regulatory, legislative, and legal issues affecting the entire ornamental aquarium community – freshwater and marine.

b. Its membership is limited to PIJAC members who are part of the aquatic community. Depending on the issue, the Committee invites non-members such as members of the academic community or individuals with specific expertise needed to advise and assist the Committee.

c. The Aquatics Committee is dedicated to ensuring that the aquarium hobby and associated industry is responsible, supports good science, opposes poorly crafted laws and regulations, and seeks liaison with governmental and non-governmental organizations, striving to ensure a sustainable trade in ornamental aquatic species, and promoting sound environmental stewardship and animal welfare.

d. The Aquatics Committee responds appropriately to proposed laws, regulations or other measures that are not supported by science other sound environmental practices or other evidence.

e. Members of the Aquatics Committee serve on international, national and state task forces, working groups, or committees specifically addressing important issues involving our aquarium communities. f. Being a responsible pet owner and supporting good science may potentially mean giving up the ability to trade on or sometimes possess a “species that you cherish” because it is listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), or some other federal or state law.

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2. Why is there an Aquatics Committee?

a. A number of leaders in the aquarium hobby and industry community, both freshwater and marine, expressed concern to PIJAC about the ever increasing number of regulatory initiatives surfacing internationally and at both the federal and state level. Subsequently, a group of concerned PIJAC members came together to form a committee focused on and dedicated to representing the broader aquatics community to deal with often complex issues of law and science, whether at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), the European Union (EU) or with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), or with state based laws and regulations such as those facing the Florida and Hawaiian aquarium industries.

b. This Committee was established by PIJAC for you – to be your voice not only within PIJAC, but also as a collective voice when addressing serious matters of concern that affect various aspects of the freshwater and marine aquarium community.

c. One must remember that “No other industry moves more specimens, of more species, than the U.S. aquarium industry.” We are part of a global industry which enjoys hundreds, if not thousands of aquatic species that may become rare and endangered in their natural habitat or may be classified as “invasive” if released into the environment in a non-native region, and displace native species or cause other types of environmental or human health harm.

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3. Who runs the Aquatics Committee?

The Committee is run by a Steering Committee under the leadership of two Co-Chairs Sandy Moore (Segrest Farms and PIJAC Board Member) and Chris Buerner (Quality Marine). Current members include: Dustin Dorton (ORA), Julian Sprung (Two Little Fishies), Laura “Peach” Reid (Fish Mart and PIJAC Board Member), Kevin Kohen (LiveAquaria), Bill Backus (A & M Aquatics), Jim Seidewand (Pet World and PIJAC Board Member) and Jonathan Williamson (PETCO). Marshall Meyers, PIJAC Senior Advisor, works closely with the Committee and coordinates activities with specialized outside lawyers and scientific advisers.

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4. Who can be a member of the Aquatics Committee? How can I help if I do not qualify as a “member?”

a. Any PIJAC member who desires to serve on the Aquatic Committee may request an active role. We are looking for as much diversity as possible to ensure that the Committee is well rounded and representative of the Aquatics community. Committee members are expected to support the committee’s activities both financially and with a personal commitment of time.

b. If you do not qualify to be a PIJAC member, you can still support the cause by making a generous donation and be recognized as a member of the Aquatics Circle of Support.

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5. What can I do to support my industry, my hobby and my love for aquatics?

a. Keep informed, and share your discoveries and concerns with your peers

b. Take a few moments each week to discuss issues with fellow hobbyists, pet store personnel and others involved with aquatics to make sure they are aware of the various issues that could or will affect aquarists.

c. Ask yourself if you are as involved as you could be in helping to protect the aquarium community and ensure that you are up-to-date on what is happening and how you can be active.

d. Be more active as an advocate -- educate your community, your legislators, your regulators about the important contributions aquarists make to the environment, human health, your community and not the least to the economy. Monitor PIJAC’s alerts and submit your personal comments to the Government when PIJAC calls for public action.

e. Join those who are financially supporting the cause by joining the Aquatic Circle of Support by sending an annual donation.

f. If you are a PIJAC member, consider the connection between our ensuring access to live organisms and the success or future of your enterprise. If you recognize the critical importance of our activities, please seriously consider supporting the Aquatics Committee by making a donation (over and above your dues payments) to support its ever-increasing scope of activities protecting your business interests!

g. If you qualify for PIJAC membership but are not yet a member, question why you are not a member of PIJAC and join by paying annual dues and supplement your dues with a contribution to the Aquatics Fund.

h. Please do not hesitate to contact PIJAC for more information as well as contribute information that you learn that can help keep PIJAC informed and ultimately more effective

i. Look for PIJAC Aquatic Fund here on PIJAC’s website to see how you can donate to the fund and don't forget to visit our membership page to join.

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6. How does the Aquatic Committee use donations?

All donations are restricted for use as directed by the Aquatics Committee’s steering committee. All of the funds are spent solely on Aquatic Committee actions. None of those funds are used for PIJAC staff or other PIJAC operating expenses, which are funded via annual general membership dues. To date the majority of Aquatic Defense Fund contributions have been expended on retaining lawyers with unique expertise in environmental law and scientists to assist the Committee’s proposal reviews, preparing responses, and, when appropriate, challenging poorly crafted laws/regulations, testifying at hearings, and representing your interests at international meetings, serving on international and national working groups and task forces.

2013 Income$119,8392013 Expenses$115,801.92
2014 Income$156,3912014 Expenses$155,114.36
2015 Budget   $250,000 (minimum including anticipated 2015 Veron Grant)

Committee expenses are limited to payments for outside legal counsel, Veron Grant, and related travel and printing expenses. Expenditures do not include in-kind services provided by PIJAC staff or its consultants Marshall Meyers or Scott Hardin or reimbursable expenses absorbed by PIJAC on behalf of the Committee’s activities. PIJAC’s in-kind contributions approximate $175,000 per year. The Co-Chairs and members of the Steering Committee generously contribute their time and expenses without reimbursement.

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7. Why should I care when I am only involved with domesticated species or captive bred natives? BEWARE

a. “Aquatic organisms” are not “domesticated” because they are bred and reared in captivity. Under international, federal, and state laws, aquatic organisms (like virtually all terrestrial animals other than dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and laboratory mice) are technically “wildlife” and not “domesticated.”

b. Also be informed when claiming a species is “native” vs. “non-native.” Depending on which law applies – a non-native species may be any species outside of is natural range. Many species we now consider as “native” are biologically “exotic” or “wildlife” or not native to the United States or its territories. The best way to protect yourself is to consider that you are dealing with non-natives, unless the species is specifically classified as “native” or “domesticated” under law.

c. Consider that a violation of any “wildlife law” anywhere in the world may result in a violation of the Lacey Act as well as other Federal and state laws and the penalties may be very severe and your animals can be confiscated.

d. Whether you enjoy freshwater or marine aquatics, your activities may be seriously affected if a species you cherish is listed under the Federal or a state endangered species law/regulation or if a species is listed as “injurious wildlife” or an “invasive species” by the FWS or your state. Remember: a violation of any wildlife law or regulation may result in significant civil or criminal sanctions!

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8. What are some of the common, and often dangerous, misperceptions about owning certain pets?

a. The assumption that Tank raised/captive bred animals and corals are not covered under ESA or Lacey Act because you erroneously consider them to be “domesticated,” “captive bred”, or “native” species.

b. ESA “Threatened” specimens may be traded interstate – not necessarily! It depends on how the FWS or NOAA decides on what activities will be allowed that promote conservation. This is normally reflected in what are called 4(d) rules.

c. Intrastate activities involving ESA listed species are normally exempt under Federal law, however, some states may also prohibit or regulate “intrastate” activities when you possess or want to possess Federally listed species. Always take steps to periodically double-check your state’s laws and regulations covering possession captive breeding, buying/selling or otherwise transferring possession to another person in your state even when the species is not listed under the ESA or the “injurious wildlife” portion of the Lacey Act.

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9. What key aquatic issues is PIJAC currently monitoring?

a. Endangered Species Act proposals to list:

i.   NMFS’ final listing of 20 Coral Species as “Threatened”

ii.  Proposal to list A. percula (Clownfish)

iii. Proposal to list Banggai cardinals

iv. Proposal to list number of other marine species under the ESA

b. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES):

i.   Proposals on captive breeding

ii.  Identification of corals

iii. Listing of additional aquatics species, such as rays and sharks

c. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD):

i.   Implementation of new guidelines for determining which species are “invasive species” including variety of risk assessment tools

ii.  Implementation of CBD rules on compensating range states for having access to and benefiting from their species whether removed from the wild or being captive bred anywhere in the world

iii. Series of reports evaluating marine ecosystems and impacts of climate change and sustainable use of natural resources

d. Lacey Act Injurious Wildlife/Invasive Species initiatives:

i. Ecological Risk Screening Assessments

1. PIJAC is signatory to a Memorandum of Understanding with the FWS and AFWA (association representing 50 state fish and game departments) to collaborate on assessing potential invasive species not yet in trade in the U.S.

2. FWS is completing approximately 2,000 risk assessments and plans on conducting an additional 2,500. The vast majority of the screens involve freshwater and some marine species.

3. PIJAC anticipates that FWS will propose to list a dozen or more species as “injurious wildlife” under Lacey in the near future.

4. PIJAC reviewing Draft Lionfish Management and Control Plan

ii. National Invasive Species Council (NISC) and its Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC) – see below.

iii. Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF) – see below.

iv. Senate and House bills to amend Lacey Act to make it far easier to ban a species if it is believed that it may be “invasive” now or possibly sometime in the future

e. Florida’s regulation of Lionfish

f. Hawai’i regulation of aquarium industry:

i. Hawai’i County proposal to impose transport standards that will cripple the local fishery and effectively shut down international shipment of Yellow Tangs for the aquarium industry. PIJAC submitted detailed comments refuting certain justifications for regulating the withholding of food pre-shipment, the requirement to pack any aquatic organism harvested from the Big Island in 1 gallon of water, and false claims of excessive mortality due to current shipping practices.

ii. PIJAC supported two Department of Natural Resources proposals to better regulate the aquarium collecting activities on Oahu and the Big Island.

iii. PIJAC filed an Amicus Brief (“friend of the court”) supporting the State’s position in a pending Court of Appeals challenge by anti-trade activists to the claiming that the State must conduct individual environmental impact assessments prior to issuing each annual aquarium industry collection permit..

iv. Over past several years, PIJAC has submitted testimony or comments in support of or in opposition to a number of proposed bills regulating or effectively banning the HI aquarium industry.

g. Maryland’s considering to ban all Crayfish – both native and non-native species. PIJAC has met with Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources to discuss the “wisdom” of such a listing!

h. Michigan’s recently enacted invasive species law that includes “white list” and risk screening. Bill 795 amended Michigan’s Natural Resources law to prevent the introduction of certain non-native and “genetically engineered” species into Michigan. Under Section 41302, “prohibited” or “restricted” species will be added to/deleted from Section 41302 listings after consultation of the relevant state agencies Section 41302a requires Michigan’s DNR and Agriculture Department to create a “permitted list” for aquatic species. The list will cover Michigan based aquaculture operations as well as all “native” and “non-native” aquatic species other than plants that were “lawfully in wide commercial trade in this state for at least 5 years” when “there is no evidence of the species causing harm to human health or natural, agriculture, or silvicultural resources in the Great Lake region. The list is to be published within 1 year of enactment. Any species in commercial trade that does not meet the above criteria may be added to a clean list if the DNR, based on risk assessment protocols being utilized by the US Departments of Agriculture and Interior. PIJAC plans on working closely with its Michigan based members as well as your major aquatic suppliers to gather data to submit to Michigan’s DNR to ensure that the lit is accurate and science based. One of problems is the new law does now define what constitutes as being “in wide commercial trade.”

i. New York’s new regulations dealing with Goldfish, Oriental weatherfish and Lionfish.

j. West Virginia’s proposal to list wide range of species, which prior to PIJAC’s detailed comments challenging the total lack of science would have banned all catfish, tetra, gobies, and much, much more!

k. White House Wildlife Trafficking Task Force, established by a Presidential Executive Order, is evaluating what measure are needed to deal with illegal wildife trade. To date the primary focus has been on poaching and illegal trade in African elephant, Rhino and Tiger products. At recent meeting, several non-governmental environmental and animal welfare organizations raised a number of issues involving trade in live animals for the pet trade, including corals. PIJAC is monitoring closely and is discussing collaborative initiatives whereby our industry could educate our suppliers and customers of the importance of complying with international, federal and state laws involving import/export, interstate trade, captive breeding, buying/selling/possessing wildlife species.

l. Check back for updates on what your Committee is dealing with!

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10. How does the Endangered Species Act (ESA) work?

a. The ESA involves a complex set of standards on how to list species, timeframes for taking certain steps, and civil and criminal penalties if you run afoul of its rules. Importantly, violations may also include additional sanctions under the Lacey Act!

b. Normally, NMFS or FWS receives a petition to list one or a number of species.

c. Within 90 days (or to the extent practical) of receiving the petition, the agency receiving the petition is required to make what is called a “90-day Finding” to list or not to list.

d. The Agency publishes in the Federal Register its findings and seeks public comments, normally within a 60 to 90 day timeframe.

e. The Agency has 12 months to make a final decision after the close of the comment period unless it seeks a 6-month extension.

f. If the Agency determines that a listing is “not warranted” but there is sufficient concern, the Agency may defer decision as “warranted but precluded” finding and are required to make subsequent 12-month findings on each succeeding anniversary of the petition until the Agency undertakes to list or determine listing is “not warranted.”

g. If one believes that litigation is warranted because the Agency has not acted or has acted in a way they do not believe is supported by their findings, lawsuits may be filed in the Federal Courts. Depending on the outcome, you may recover the cost of your litigation under what are called “Citizen lawsuits.”

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11. What does it take to list as species under the ESA?

a. ESA framework – the Secretary must find when listing a “species:”:

i. Rely on the “best scientific and commercial data available” under 16 U.S.C. §1553(b)

ii. If “endangered,” is the species “in danger of extinction throughout all of a significant portion of its range” under 16 USC 1532(6)

iii. If “threatened,” is the species “likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range under 16 USC 1532 (20)

b. Section 4 of the ESA requires that a listing must be solely on the basis of the species biological status and threats to its existence after considering 5 factors:

i. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species habitat or range;

ii. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;

iii. Disease or predation;

iv. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and

v. Other natural or manmade factors affecting the species’ continued existence.

c. What to look for when evaluating a petition or the government proposal to list a species?

i. Species-specific data

ii. Abundance and distribution data

iii. Trend data

iv. Extinction risk data

v. Inappropriate reliance on inherently speculative arguments used as proxy when data not available such as alleged, not demonstrated habitat loss, climate change absent hard data, or junk science

vi. Is non-existence of data the “best scientific and commercial data available” under 16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(1)(a)

d. If listed, then what? Carefully review the steps taken by the listing Agency following its publication of its decision to make sure you are not violating the ESA. The consequences may be costly!

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12. If a species is listed under the ESA, is it legal for me to possess, breed, acquire/sell, or otherwise deal with specimens? If listed is it OK for me to keep ESA-listed species only within my state?

a. Federal regulation:

i. If listed as “Endangered,” all “international” and “interstate” activities are prohibited unless you are engaged in a permitted activity.

ii. The ESA makes in “unlawful” for anyone to “take” a listed animal. “Take” is broadly defined as “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect or attempt to engaged in any such conduct.” ESA regulations go on to further define “harm.”

iii. Commercial trade of a “threatened species” is normally considered to be an illegal take UNLESS special exceptions are published in what are commonly known as a 4(d) Rule. A 4(d) Rule is justified if the proposed activity serves a “conservation purpose.”

iv. If listed as “Threatened,” our ability to deal in, acquire/sell, captive breed, move these species internationally or interstate depends on how the listing agency deals with post-listing “prohibitions.” The Fish and Wildlife Service includes any Rule 4(d) exceptions at the time of listing a species as “Threatened.” NLAA/NMFS ordinarily publishes its threatened species determination and publishes any 4(d) exceptions at a later date.

v. An ESA listing normally does not impact “intrastate” activities unless your state has decided to ban intrastate activities.

b. State activities i. Some states make it illegal to possess, breed, acquire/sell, euthanize, etc. any species that are listed under the ESA as “Endangered” or “Threatened.” ii. You are caught in a Catch 22 situation – any “intrastate” activity could be the equivalent of an illegal “take” and if euthanized could be illegal “harm.”

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13. What did PIJAC do about the petition to list 83 species of Corals under the ESA?

a. When the Center for Biological Diversity (not to be confused with the Convention on Biological Diversity) petitioned NMFS in 2009 to list 83 corals (mainly Acropora spp.) as Endangered or Threatened species under the ESA, PIJAC reviewed the 198 page petition and started compiling data on certain species. PIJAC submitted to NMFS preliminary comments including a chart based on the IUCN Red List Database showing that data was virtually non-existent for many of the species and when in doubt IUCN simply used alleged “Habitat Loss” as a proxy for justifying classifying listing the species on its Red List.

b. When NMFS published its Notice to consider listing 66 of the 83 species and sought pubic comments, PIJAC retained the K & L Gates law firm to assist PIJAC in analyzing the decision, formulate a strategy for responding.

c. PIJAC also engaged Dr. JEN “Charlie” Veron (Corals of the World and world renowned coral expert) to analyze the NMFS findings, provide PIJAC with the most up-to-date biological information regarding the 66 species and facilitated a meeting with Dr. Veron at a Western Pacific Fishery Council meeting in Hawai’i to review the NMFS’ proposal and explore possibility of his supplying NMFS with that same information.

d. PIJAC petitioned NMFS to opt to extend the statutory timeframe for making a decision by 6 months as allowed under the ESA so that the Agency would be able to receive the best available science being compiled by Dr, Veron.

e. After receiving Dr. Veron’s analysis, PIJAC/WESTPAC prepared a detailed analysis comparing the Veron data with NMFS data showing significant discrepancies once up-to-date information was compared with NMFS’s reliance on outdated Veron information. While NMFS cited Veron 781 times in its initial justification, it became clear that they had relied on extremely dated Veron information as well as mischaracterized/misquoted selected Veron data.

f. The final Veron Report provided NMFS information on 150 eco-regions, 2,894 survey sites where the corals occurred, distribution data by eco-regions where data confirmed or strongly predicted the species state.

g. Following a meeting with NMFS to deliver the Veron Report, PIJAC continued to evaluate possible scenarios in the event NMFS decided to list all of most of the corals. When it appeared that a NOAA.NMFS decision was unlikely to be released within the extended time frame, PIJAC submitted a Notice of its intent to sue – a common and strategic tactic often utilized by several environmental non-governmental organizations to gain jurisdictional priority in a potential future action.

h. A review of NMFS 400+ page decision to list only 20 species as “Threatened” clearly indicates that the Veron/PIJAC/WESTPAC Report made its mark.

i. When in September 2014 FWS errantly issued a Notice that trade in all of the species was prohibited, PIJAC immediately acted, contacted NOAA and FWS, and made sure that FWS reversed its position that same day and until NMFS make further specific findings regulating trade activity.

j. At the time the 20 species listing was published, NMFS sought comments on whether NMFS should publish any exception to an outright prohibition under what is known as 4(d) Rule exceptions. PIJAC submitted comments (PIJAC November Letter above) noting that no prohibitions are called for and if so, then certain exceptions should be adopted with respect to ocean-based and land-based mariculture operations, interstate trade to allow such activities as practiced by commercial and home based coral propagation operators, etc. On January 13, 2015, NMFS published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) seeking "public input that will assist in identifying actions and activities that may impact the status of these corals to provide for the conservation of the species, as well as information on the existence and efficacy of on-going conservation activities.” Comments on possible exception if a 4(d) Rule are due by March 16, 2015. PIJAC published a PetAlert outlining the types of information both PIJAC and NMFS seeking.

k. PIJAC continues to evaluate potential challenges to aspects of decision because NMFS, according to its own words, in the final decision found i. “Species-level abundance data and trend data were virtually non-existent for most of the … coral species under consideration.” 77 Fed. Reg. at 73240 ii. “Available abundance data were so limited or compromised due to small sample survey sizes, lack of species-specific data, etc.” they were excluded as part of extinction data. 77 Fed. Reg. at 73224|.

l. PIJAC is questioning if a decision can be justified when the Agency finds that much of the data is “Virtually … unknown by species” meets the standards set forth in 16 U.S.C. 1532(6).

m. Stay tuned – not over!

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14. Why would coral frags be regulated under ESA since they are grown in closed systems; they are not removed from the wild; and they are not involved in international trade?

a. Once a species is listed under ESA both international and interstate activities are regulated.

b. If listed as “Endangered,” international and interstate movement prohibited.

c. If listed as “Threatened”, NMFS may publish special rules, known as 4(d) rules, allowing movement across U.S. borders or state borders under specific conditions. Depending on the final NMFS decision all interstate shipments of frags could be prohibited. Rule 4(d) provides the Secretary discretion when deciding how to regulate threatened species.

d. PIJAC is working diligently to seek clarification of NMFS’s position on continued trade in the 20 species of listed corals.

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15. Did PIJAC respond to the proposal to list 6 species of Damselfish under ESA?

Yes – PIJAC, in close collaboration with various industry representatives, including members of the scientific and aquaculture communities engaged in producing some of the pertinent species for detailed input as part of PIJAC’s submission in opposition to the listing of A. percula (Clownifsh). Clownfish are being captively propagated in ever increasing numbers. This involved and extensive review of the petition seeking listing under the ESA.

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16. Does the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) really involve aquatics?

a. CITES, now in its 41st year, was designed to identify wildlife species that are threatened or endangered. When listed as “Endangered,” international trade is virtually prohibited when for “commercial purposes.” If listed as “threatened,” trade is generally permitted pursuant to a permit system based on the exporting country’s making a finding that the export of the specific species is not “detrimental” to the survival of the species in the wild.

b. A number of aquatic species are listed as “Endangered” (Appendix I) or “Threatened” (Appendix II). http://www.cites.org/eng/app/index.php

c. Examples of species covered:

i. Seahorses: http://cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/notif/2005/014.pdf

ii. Corals: http://cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/notif/2002/072.shtml 

iii. Rays, sharks, fish: http://cites.org/eng/dec/valid16/16_128-129.php

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17. What is the Lacey Act and why should I care?

The Lacey Act is a critical environmental law that is one of the most important Federal laws regulating your activities. Lacey, initially adopted by the Congress in 1900, provides for listing injurious wildlife/invasive species under 18 U.S.C. § 42-43. Lacey also includes civil and criminal sanctions if one imports, exports, transports, sells, receives, acquires, or purchases any fish or wildlife or plant taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law (foreign or domestic), treaty, or regulation of the United States or in violation of any Indian tribal law under 16 U.S.C. § 3371-3378. The provisions are detailed and cover marking offenses, false labeling, and civil and criminal penalties.

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18. Should I be concerned about invasive species?

Any non-native aquatic species that becomes established outside of its natural range and displaces native species may be considered “injurious” (invasive) if the Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the species is injurious to human beings, to the interests of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, or to wildlife or the wildlife resources of the United States, is hereby prohibited. Once listed, all international and interstate activities are prohibited. Example of listed species:

Freshwater fish: Snakeheads, Gambusia, etc.

Marine fish: Lionfish in the Caribbean,

Marine algae: Caluerpa taxifolia and other species

Marine inverts/corals: Tubastrea sp in Caribbean

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19. What is Habitattitudetm?

Proactive campaign to ensure: 

Wise pet choices (Habits).

Protect environment (Habitats) from impacts of unwanted pets.

Help pet owners find alternatives to release of their pets (Attitudes).

Do right by your pet. Do right by our environment. Do not release your pets into the environment. 

Habitattitudetm is governed by a PIJAC and Department of Interior Memorandum of Understanding.

See the following page, located here on PIJAC’s website: http://www.pijac.org/animal-welfare-and-programs/environment 

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20. What is IATA? How does it affect me?

a. IATA is the International Air Transport Association, a trade association representing more than 200 airlines.

b. IATA’s Live Animals Board annually publishes detailed standards for shipment of live animals known as the IATA Live Animals Regulations (LARs). The LARs contains detailed information and recommendations of how to prepare and deal with shipping animals.

c. If your species are a CITES listed species, you must following the IATA LAR for both air and surface transport. CITES has adopted several additional standards for surface-only transport that can be found on the CITES website.

d. Many countries, including the U.S., have adopted the IATA LAR as part of their national laws. The US also enforces the IATA LAR for certain species even if not covered by CITES.

e. Most airlines apply IATA standards for international as well as for domestic transportation.

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21. What are NISC and ISAC? Why should I care?

a. Invasive species are considered a global threat to biodiversity. In the United States, aquatic organisms are by far the most often cited as being invasive and cause harm to the environment, human health or other animals. As early as 1973, the FWS proposed to list all non-natives species as “injurious” until proven innocent. PIJAC, in its infancy, challenged the FWS proposal based on scientific impossibility to prove a negative and FWS’ justification equaled “junk science.” PIJAC’s challenge was successful and resulted in our industry and FWS working collaboratively over the years to properly address invasive species issues. That does not mean that we automatically agree on every proposed listing, but we work together to ensure there is open dialogue and clear understanding of our respective positions and concerns.

b. NISC – National Invasive Species Council was created by a Presidential Executive Order by President Client. NISC membership currently includes __ Federal Departments and Agencies.

c. ISAC – Invasive Species Advisory Council was established to provide advice to the federal government by providing recommendation to NISC. ISAC membership consists of 32 individuals representing industry, academia, environmental community, and state governments. PIJAC representatives have served on ISAC since IAC’s creation in 2001 and actively participate on several key working groups. ISAC members play an instrumental role in drafting a series of White Papers targeting key areas involving invasive species.

d. The future Federal initiatives covering importation, risk assessment protocols, control and management plans, and education/outreach initiatives will be influenced by ISAC recommendations. PIJAC supports science-based protocols and challenges junks science and ill-conceived proposals.

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22. What is the ANSTF? 

The Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force was created by an Act of Congress – its membership consists of federal and non-federal experts. The ANSTF’s work is largely done by a series of regional panels that focus on local or regional issues. PIJAC serves on most of the regional panels. Over the years, PIJAC has been involved in reviewing numerous ANSTF proposals to deal with invasive species. More recently, PIJAC has been part of review teams on Lionfish as well as various Carps in the Great Lakes. The Draft Lionfish Management and Control Plan is under final review.

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23. How can I find copies of Federal proposals? How can I comment? Where do I send my comments?

a. If you are a PIJAC member you will receive PIJAC alerts.

b. If you are not a PIJAC member, you can periodically check PIJAC’s website for information on key petitions, proposed regulations, final decisions or other key Federal activities.

c. Once a formal proposal is published in the Federal Register, you can go to http://www.regulations.gov to review all of the relevant documents as well as read the public comments. You can also submit your comments directly through regulations.gov.

d. There are several ways you can submit your public comments. The Federal Register Notice will provide you with instructions on various ways you can submit your comments. Be careful because sometimes you are limited to submitting comments by mail and online via regulations.gov. More and more they will not accept emails or faxes.

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24. How can I find copies of state proposals? Where do I send my comments?

a. As with Federal proposals, PIJAC will post key state initiatives on the website and alert members.

b. Responding to state proposals varies by state. PIJAC Alerts will provide you with relevant information on how to obtain copies of state proposals, where and when to submit your comments, and what else you can do to address state issues.

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