FWC Injurious Species Proposal

UPDATE: FWC has posted on their agenda they will be asking for an Executive Order that prohibits the importation into Florida of any species listed as injurious under the Lacey Act. FWC will then decide if they will allow any of these species to be imported into the state.

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be addressing the commissioners regarding species listed as injurious under the Lacey Act. FWC will likely propose a ban on importation of these species while they review the list for a potential "white list" of Lacey Act listed species which can be imported into the state, or a ban list of those which cannot.

Anyone wishing to address this agenda item may send an email to Commissioners@MyFWC.com. Any stakeholders should attend the meeting if possible and address their concerns. This agenda item will be heard on Wednesday, April 25th, 2018. Remember to be professional and civil at all times when contacting FWC and commissioners.

Snippet from agenda: Proposals to address the threat of injurious species entering Florida. Recent changes to the Federal Lacey Act have resulted in removing a long-standing prohibition against importing injurious species into Florida. Staff will propose both short-term and long-term actions to address this new threat to Florida’s native wildlife, economy and human safety.

Full agenda at www.myfwc.com/about/commission/commission-meetings/2018/april/25/agenda/.

Dates: April 25 - 26, 2018
Location: Marriott Fort Lauderdale North
6650 North Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309

Email: Commissioners@MyFWC.com

Facebook Shareable link at www.facebook.com/UnitedStatesAssociationOfReptileKeepers/photos/a.398227663592526.91819.397170450364914/1636171806464766/?type=3&theater.

Notes

  1. Regarding constrictor snakes listed as injurious, it is important to note that Florida already has multiple laws on the books regarding these species, which all remain unaffected by court-ruled correction to the way the Federal Lacey Act is applied.
  2. Permits from FWC are already required for the importation of any of these species.
  3. Most species of large constrictor snakes can only legally be owned by a few people in Florida and are labeled as "conditional species."
  4. These conditional species license holders abide by stringent regulations including annual inspections, facility structure codes, and caging standards.
  5. The license holders must follow the same regulations as accredited zoos.
  6. These snake species cannot be kept solely as pets in Florida.
  7. There is already a ban on ownership and importation of these species except those few people with the proper licenses.
  8. If FWC properly enforces the current laws regarding “conditional species,” any threats suggested by FWC will have been sufficiently addressed.
  9. FWC regulates these snake species listed as injurious found in trade: Reticulated, Indian, Northern Rock, Southern Rock, and Burmese pythons, and Green anacondas.
  10. Yellow anacondas are not regulated by FWC but could be added to the list of "conditional species" if there is legitimate concern regarding this species.
  11. Note that FWC will be addressing all species listed as injurious, including 201 species of salamanders.
  12. While southern Florida possesses a climate unique to the continental U.S., it is important for any government agency to take a practical and common sense approach to writing law, rather than a knee-jerk, reactive attitude.

How the Commission Works

Basically, FWC staff must present their rulemaking proposals to the seven governor-appointed commissioners at these public meetings. These public meetings are critical for public stakeholders to address the commissioners with either their support or opposition. The commissioners will approve or deny the proposals after receiving all input or may advise FWC to take a different direction. The commissioners act as a Board of Directors.

Sample Message: Remember to be civil and professional.

Please personalize to address your concerns. Versions of the "Notes" above can be utilized.

FWC Commissioners and Staff,

As a Florida resident, conservationist, and outdoor enthusiast, I appreciate your concern regarding our environment, native wildlife, and human inhabitants. While the correct application of the Lacey Act regarding species listed as injurious has now been clarified by two federal courts, I can understand why, at face value, it may seem important to address this matter.

For species which are not yet controlled by FWC, such as bighead carp and zebra mussels, action by FWC may be warranted. However, for the species which are already heavily regulated, such as some constrictor snakes, it would be a redundancy and waste of FWC resources to draft additional regulations. Multiple Florida state laws already govern the handful of residents who can legally keep these snakes. Possession and importation are already illegal for nearly all Floridians.

While addressing other species listed as injurious makes sense, the species of constrictor snakes which are already regulated should be immediately included onto any list of accepted species, so that those few stakeholders can continue to operate without additional overbearing governance. Thank you for working to keep Florida as special and unique as it can be with the surplus of people and urban areas we already have. Please focus your resources and my tax money toward legitimate concerns. Thank you for your time and have a good day.

Sincerely,

Full List of Species Listed as Injurious

LINK: www.fws.gov/injuriouswildlife/pdf_files/Current_Listed_IW.pdf

Article written by USARK