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Worth the read and to act whilst we can….

Endangered Species Listings Could End Trade in Stony Corals
URGENT Call for Concerned Aquarists to Write Objections

Will U.S. Fish & Wildlife inspectors be able to ID incoming stony corals?
Photo Credit: Scott W. Michael/Aquarium Corals
(Unidentified Acropora, Indonesia.)

PIJAC, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, issued a call to action on April 3rd, 2013, for everyone involved in the aquarium industry and hobby to submit public commentary in response to the NOAA Proposal to list 66 CORAL Species on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as we first reported late November, 2012.

You have less than 48 hours remaining to submit your public comment (electronic submissions are closed after 11:59 PM EDT, April 5th, 2013). Mail submissions must be postmarked April 6th.

Public commentary is a fundamental core part of the ESA listing process, so don’t think what you say won’t make a difference – it certainly could.

We are providing expanded commentary on the NOAA ESA Coral Petition issue in another article today; if you’re unfamiliar we encourage you to become invested in the implications this proposal has for you as an aquarist.

For those already familiar with the issue and simply looking for instructions, you can view the full PIJAC press release with instructions.  We’ve also excerpted a portion here.

Recommended Action:

PIJAC urges people involved with the ornamental marine trade and hobby to not only submit their personal comments, but also forward this PetAlert to others involved with marine organisms, marine products, and marine retailers. COMMENTS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY APRIL 6, 2013. See below for instructions on how and where to submit your comments.

Comments should include a brief description of your involvement with coral activities. Your comments should be in your own words – do not simply copy the talking points.

Comments should be addressed to:

Regulatory Branch Chief
Protected Resources Division
National Marine Fisheries Service
Pacific Islands Regional Office
1601 Kapiolani Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96814
Attn: 82 Coral Species Proposed Listing


Assistant Regional Administrator,
Protected Resources,
National Marine Fisheries Service,
Southeast Regional Office,
263 13th Avenue South,
Saint Petersburg, FL 33701,
Attn: 82 coral species proposed listing

Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments NO LATER THAN APRIL 5 via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal www.regulations.gov. To submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the “submit a comment” icon, then enter NOAA-NMFS-2010-0036 in the keyword search. Locate the document you wish to comment on from the resulting list and click on the “Submit a Comment” icon on the right of that line. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. E-submissions must be filed by 11:59 pm EDT on April 5 when the system shuts down. If you encounter problems filing electronically FAX and mail a copy.

Mail: Submit written comments to Regulatory Branch Chief, Protected Resources Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Regional Office, 1601 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1110, Honolulu, HI 96814; or Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701, Attn: 82 coral species proposed listing. Must be postmarked no later than April 6 and to be safe send April 5.

Fax: 808-973-2941; Attn: Protected Resources Regulatory Branch Chief; or 727-824-5309; Attn: Protected Resources Assistant Regional Administrator.
Postal or Fax Submissions: If responding by mail, make sure the envelope is postmarked/date stamped on or before April 6. PIJAC recommends that you also FAX a copy to NMFS.

For any questions about this proposal and responding to it, contact PIJAC at info@pijac.org or Marshall Meyers at marshall@pijac.org.

Download or view the full PIJAC release

What’s Being Proposed and What’s An Aquarist to Do?

Acropora verweyi, one of 66 stony coral species proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Opinion By Matt Pedersen,
Aquaculturist & CORAL Magazine Senior Editor

“Don’t overlook the at-home implications of an ESA listing.  Being listed as an endangered species under the ESA makes it illegal to own or propagate the species under the “Take Prohibition”—”Endangered species, their parts, or any products made from them may not be imported, exported, possessed, or sold” according to the Earth Justice Citizen’s Guide to the ESA.

MattPedersen“It is unclear that there would be any legal way to provide exceptions or grandfather in past legal ownership or propagation.  Could your next “20,000 Leagues Lokani” frag be your last, or worse, do you have to grind your entire Candy Cane Coral colony into a pulp or risk jail time or fines for owning it, despite having purchased it legally years prior?

“Should these listings go into effect, will the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have a “Reefer’s Amnesty Day” where we can all turn in our then contraband livestock?

“Pragmatically, the aquarium-industry implications of this proposal are such that we could quite literally all return to keeping fish-only marine aquariums.  That is, we’ll be fine with fish until we have to deal with any successful efforts by the Center for Biological Diversity to list Amphiprion percula as an endangered species under the ESA (at which point am I required by law to flush the 200 baby Percula Clownfish I spawned and reared in my basement or risk civil and criminal penalties for owning a newly-dubbed “endangered species”?).”  Read the full commentary…

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April 9, 2013 - 5:45 PM
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