Four Turtle Species Proposed as CITES III

Deadline to comment is 12/29/14
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a proposed rule to address the growing threat of illegal take and trade in native turtles. If finalized, this action will bring four native freshwater turtle species - the common snapping turtle, the Florida softshell turtle, the smooth softshell turtle and the spiny softshell turtle - under the protection of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and require exporters to obtain a permit before shipping turtles overseas.The publishing of the proposed rule marks the beginning of a 60-day public comment period. Comments must be received on or before December 29, 2014.

Questions and Answers

What is CITES Appendix III?
CITES is a treaty aimed at protecting species at risk from international trade. Appendix III, one of three appendices under CITES, is a list of animal and plant species identified by particular CITES party countries as being in need of international trade controls. In this case, the United States is proposing to list four native freshwater turtle species to better monitor existing international trade and ensure trade is legal.The Service is seeking public comments for 60 days regarding information pertaining to these four turtle species. Comments must be received by December 29, 2014 at www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0052-0001

What does an Appendix III listing mean in terms of permit requirements? 

Once a species is listed under CITES any international trade in the species, either as live specimens or parts or products, must be accompanied by a valid CITES permit or certificate. The export of an Appendix III species listed by the United States requires an export permit issued by the Service’s Division of Management Authority (DMA). For additional information, visit www.fws.gov/le/commercial-wildlife-shipment.html.

What permits will be required to export any of these species under an Appendix III listing?

To apply for a U.S. CITES document, a standard application form and processing fee are required. To legally export any of these species, you must complete application form 3-200-27. Upon completion of your application and approval by the Service, a permit will be issued authorizing the export of specifically identified specimens.

Will a permit be necessary to import any of these species?

If you plan to import Appendix III turtles, no import permit is needed. However, you must follow the general CITES permit requirements for export or re-export (as discussed above) and any applicable Service law enforcement requirements for Appendix III species. You should also contact the foreign nation’s management authority in order to comply with their requirements.

How would an Appendix III listing affect domestic trade in these species?

CITES requirements apply only when the species are being exported, imported or re-exported across international borders. As stated above, however, some CITES-listed species are protected by other state conservation laws. Contact your state wildlife or plant conservation agency to determine any additional requirements.

More information and comment portal at: www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0052-0001

Proposed Rule: www.fws.gov/international/pdf/federal-register-notice-50-cfr-23.pdf