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Here's the listing:

[Federal Register: September 17, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 180)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 56975-56976]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr17se10-31]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 16

[Docket No. FWS-R9-FHC-2009-0093; 94140-1342-0000-N5]
RIN 1018-AX05


Injurious Wildlife Species; Review of Information Concerning a
Petition To List All Live Amphibians in Trade as Injurious Unless Free
of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of inquiry.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are
reviewing a petition to list, under the Lacey Act, all live amphibians
or their eggs in trade as injurious unless certified as free of
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (chytrid fungus). The importation and
introduction of live amphibians infected with chytrid fungus into the
natural ecosystems of the United States may pose a threat to interests
of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, or to wildlife or the wildlife
resources of the United States. An injurious wildlife listing would
prohibit the importation of live amphibians or their eggs infected with
chytrid fungus into, or transportation between, States, the District of
Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or
possession of the United States by any means, without a permit. We may
issue permits for scientific, medical, educational, or zoological
purposes. This document seeks information from the public to aid in
determining if a proposed rule is warranted.

DATES: We will consider information received or postmarked on or before
December 16, 2010.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Regulations.gov.
Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-R9-
FHC-2009-0093.
U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing,
Attn: Docket No. FWS-R9-FHC-2009-0093, Division of Policy and
Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North
Fairfax Drive, Suite 222, Arlington, VA 22203.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Jewell, Branch of Aquatic
Invasive Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS 770, 4401 N.
Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203; telephone 703-358-2416. If you use
a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On September 9, 2009, Department of the
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar received a petition from the Defenders
of Wildlife requesting that live amphibians or their eggs in trade be
considered for inclusion in the injurious wildlife regulations (50 CFR
part 16) under the Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. 42) unless they are free of
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (chytrid fungus). The Defenders of
Wildlife is concerned that unregulated trade--primarily for pet use and
as live animals for consumption as frog legs--continues to threaten the
survival of many amphibian species, including domestic and foreign
species listed by the Service under the Endangered Species Act of 1973
as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), candidate species, and other
species.
Specifically, the petition to Secretary Salazar proposes the
following revision to the Service regulations at 50 CFR 16.14.

Importation of live amphibians or their eggs. All live
amphibians and their eggs are prohibited entry into the United
States, or to be exported from the United States, or transported in
interstate commerce, for any purposes, except in compliance with
this section. Upon the filing of a written declaration with the
District Director of Customs at the port of entry as required under
Sec. 14.61, species of live amphibians or their eggs may be
imported, transported, and possessed in captivity only if the
shipment complies with a certification and handling system that
meets or exceeds recommendations of the World Organization for
Animal Health in its Aquatic Animal Health Code on Batrachochytrium
dendrobatidis. No such live amphibians or any progeny or eggs
thereof may be released into the wild except by the State wildlife
conservation agency having jurisdiction over the area of release or
by persons having prior written permission for release from such
agency. All live amphibians and their eggs are prohibited from
interstate commerce in the United States and from export out of the
United States unless in a shipment accompanied by a written
declaration, in such form as the Director of the Fish and Wildlife
Service shall provide, which

[[Page 56976]]

indicates the shipment meets or exceeds the recommendations of the
World Organization for Animal Health in its Aquatic Animal Health
Code on Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

We are seeking information on the importation and transportation of
live amphibians or their eggs and chytrid fungus (also known as
chytridiomycosis) for possible addition to the injurious wildlife list
under the Lacey Act.
The regulations contained in 50 CFR part 16 implement the Lacey
Act. Under the terms of the injurious wildlife provisions of the Lacey
Act, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to prohibit the
importation and interstate transportation of species designated by the
Secretary as injurious. Injurious wildlife are those species,
offspring, and eggs that are injurious or potentially injurious to
wildlife or wildlife resources, to human beings, or to the interests of
forestry, horticulture, or agriculture of the United States. Wild
mammals, wild birds, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians, and
reptiles are the only organisms that can be added to the injurious
wildlife list. The lists of injurious wildlife are provided at 50 CFR
16.11-16.15. If the process initiated by this notice results in the
addition of a species to the list of injurious wildlife contained in 50
CFR part 16, their importation into or transportation between States,
the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any
territory or possession of the United States would be prohibited,
except by permit for zoological, educational, medical, or scientific
purposes (in accordance with permit regulations at 50 CFR 16.22), or by
Federal agencies without a permit solely for their own use.

Public Comments

This notice of inquiry requests biological, economic, or other data
regarding the addition of live amphibians as injurious unless free of
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (chytrid fungus) to the list of
injurious wildlife. This information, along with other sources of data,
will be used to determine if live amphibians or their eggs that are
infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis are a threat, or potential
threat, to those interests of the United States delineated above, and
thus warrant addition to the list of injurious wildlife in 50 CFR
16.14.
You may submit your information and materials concerning this
notice of inquiry by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES
section. If you submit a comment via Regulations.gov, your
entire comment, including any personal identifying information, will be
posted on the Web site. If you submit a hardcopy comment that includes
personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your
document that we withhold this information from public review. However,
we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all
hardcopy comments on Regulations.gov.
Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting
documentation we used in preparing this notice of inquiry, will be
available for public inspection on Regulations.gov, or by
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, Room 770, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA
22203.
We are soliciting information and supporting data from the public
to gain substantive information, and we specifically seek information
on the following questions regarding the importation of live amphibians
and their eggs infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (chytrid
fungus):
(1) What Federal, State, or tribal regulations exist to prevent the
spread of chytrid fungus?
(2) Are there any known mechanisms in the United States to test
for, control, or regulate movement or interstate transport of chytrid
fungus?
(3) How many businesses import live amphibians or their eggs into
the United States?
(4) How many businesses sell live amphibians or their eggs for
interstate commerce?
(5) What are the annual sales of these imported live amphibians and
their eggs?
(6) What species of amphibians, fish, or other class of animal have
been affected by chytrid fungus in the United States and how were they
infected?
(7) What are the current and potential effects to species listed as
threatened or endangered under the ESA that are contaminated with
chytrid fungus?
(8) What are the potential costs of recovering threatened or
endangered species affected by chytrid fungus?
(9) What is the likelihood that wild amphibians would be affected
by the importation of live amphibians or their eggs that harbor chytrid
fungus?
(10) What would it cost to eradicate chytrid fungus?
(11) Are there any potential benefits to allowing the chytrid
fungus pathogen to be imported?
(12) What is the potential for the industries that conduct trade in
amphibians to self-police through voluntary best practices; for
example, how successful is the ``Bd-Free `Phibs Campaign'' sponsored by
the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council?
(13) What peer-reviewed methods for detecting chytrid fungus have
been published?
(14) Are there any other comments or information regarding the
listing of live amphibians as injurious unless free of chytrid fungus?

Dated: September 10, 2010.
Thomas L. Strickland,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2010-23039 Filed 9-16-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

Source: Regulations.gov
Everyone needs to study this so we can figure out what it means. For example, I'm very concerned about this:

If the process initiated by this notice results in the
addition of a species to the list of injurious wildlife contained in 50
CFR part 16, their importation into or transportation between States,
the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any
territory or possession of the United States would be prohibited,
except by permit for zoological, educational, medical, or scientific
purposes (in accordance with permit regulations at 50 CFR 16.22), or by
Federal agencies without a permit solely for their own use
.

Emphasis in bold is mine (W.W.).
From my initial read of this, it seems like private individuals would NOT QUALIFY for a permit.

Understanding this listing is VERY IMPORTANT to us froggers! The first step in fighting this proposed listing (ban) is to understand what it says.

Comments please!!!
 

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As I understand the section you quoted, in conjunction with the other clauses. Private individuals, businesses, farms, etc... could import/transport amphibians as long as they were certified Chytrid free. Zoological, medical, etc... institutions would not be required to have amphibians certified as chytrid free in order to import/transport amphibians.

I am strongly concerned that "certified chytrid free" does not seem to be well defined. I see lots of potential for mischief in this clause.
 

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The process by which animals would be certified as being chytrid free has not yet been developed. People need to realize that one of the primary reasons for this open comment period is for the USFWS to obtain input from various people and sectors in order to better inform the decision that must be made (and one must be made because a petition was legally presented to them).

So rather than freaking out and raging that "the man" is going to take away everyone's amphibians (as people have done in past threads), I believe energy would better be spent engaging the situation in a rational matter. TWI is preparing to submit our findings from the chytrid study we are doing so that the USFWS has some actual data regarding the presence of the fungus in captive collections of Dendrobatids (because, as of right now, there simply isn't any since no study of this sort has ever been done). I personally think that participating in something like this (in a way that produces and provides scientifically-based information and tangible knowledge) is more beneficial than the fearmongering that tends to eventually dominate discussions/issues like this.

Also, something to keep in mind: there are currently 7 known strains of Bd. The most virulent/deadly strains (that have decimated amphibian populations in Central and South America...where our Dendrobatids come from) have yet to be introduced into and/or appear in North America. So don't think that what's happening now to our native amphibians is the worst it's going to get...it could be MUCH worse. I would personally hate for this hobby (through the importation and/or trade of Bd-infected animals) to be a participant in the further spread of these strains into areas and amphibian populations that have previously been uninfected by them.
 

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Speaking of the study could I be provided with the written survey that came with the kits? I filled it out before i received and swabbed the new frogs.
 

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The process by which animals would be certified as being chytrid free has not yet been developed. People need to realize that one of the primary reasons for this open comment period is for the USFWS to obtain input from various people and sectors in order to better inform the decision that must be made (and one must be made because a petition was legally presented to them).

So rather than freaking out and raging that "the man" is going to take away everyone's amphibians (as people have done in past threads), I believe energy would better be spent engaging the situation in a rational matter.
The process of certifying animals as Chytrid free is, however, the ENTIRE guts of the measure. ALL the relevant restrictions, rules, whatnot spring forth from this unidentified process. Without some framework on this process, the entire thing is just a shell game.
 

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The process of certifying animals as Chytrid free is, however, the ENTIRE guts of the measure. ALL the relevant restrictions, rules, whatnot spring forth from this unidentified process. Without some framework on this process, the entire thing is just a shell game.
And without actual information and reliable data, they can't make the best possible decision or create a decent form of certification.

One of the problems is that zealots keep trying to turn this into a purely black/white issue, where the only option other than no certification is complete lockdown and confiscation of all amphibians from hobbyists. There are numerous ways in which a certification system could work--some of them may be needlessly complicated, but some of them could be highly effective and prevent populations of native North American amphibians from being infected with new (to the continent) strains of Bd.

People seem to think that crying "THIS ISN'T FAIR!" on a forum ad naseum is somehow going to affect or impact things, as if the USFWS is reading these threads with baited breath in order to figure out which step to take next. If people are worried about the process of certification they should do something to help inform the creation of that process, or provide information to help the USFWS determine if such a process is even warranted.

Simply complaining about it and/or working people into a froth over the issue does neither.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
As per this directive:

Upon the filing of a written declaration with the District Director of Customs at the port of entry as required under Sec. 14.61, species of live amphibians or their eggs may be imported, transported, and possessed in captivity only if the shipment complies with a certification and handling system that meets or exceeds recommendations of the World Organization for Animal Health in its Aquatic Animal Health Code on Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.
Here's a link to the World Organization for Animal Health in its Aquatic Animal Health Code on Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

Additionally:

All live amphibians and their eggs are prohibited from interstate commerce in the United States and from export out of the United States unless in a shipment accompanied by a written declaration, in such form as the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service shall provide, which indicates the shipment meets or exceeds the recommendations of the World Organization for Animal Health in its Aquatic Animal Health Code on Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.
 

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And without actual information and reliable data, they can't make the best possible decision or create a decent form of certification.

One of the problems is that zealots keep trying to turn this into a purely black/white issue, where the only option other than no certification is complete lockdown and confiscation of all amphibians from hobbyists. There are numerous ways in which a certification system could work--some of them may be needlessly complicated, but some of them could be highly effective and prevent populations of native North American amphibians from being infected with new (to the continent) strains of Bd.

People seem to think that crying "THIS ISN'T FAIR!" on a forum ad naseum is somehow going to affect or impact things, as if the USFWS is reading these threads with baited breath in order to figure out which step to take next. If people are worried about the process of certification they should do something to help inform the creation of that process, or provide information to help the USFWS determine if such a process is even warranted.

Simply complaining about it and/or working people into a froth over the issue does neither.
It should also be noted that even if this is passed USF&W are not going to be confiscating amphibians from the hobbyist's home. That is outside of the jurisdiction of the rule change. It would require further legislation on the part of the hobbyists home state...
 

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As per this directive:



Here's a link to the World Organization for Animal Health in its Aquatic Animal Health Code on Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

Assuming that is the final language used....Under that language, you would simply need a certificate from a vet stating that the eggs/larva/animals stating that they were healthy and free of the disease.
If the animals are being imported they need a certificate from a vet stating that the animals were treated for Bd and are healthy for export. (see Article 8.1.10 in the linked info..)

This is also clear under the definition of competant authority in the linked document Quote"Competent Authority

means the Veterinary Authority or other Governmental Authority of a Member having the responsibility and competence for ensuring or supervising the implementation of aquatic animal health and welfare measures, international health certification and other standards and recommendations in the Aquatic Code in the whole territory."endquote.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #12
means the Veterinary Authority or other Governmental Authority of a Member having the responsibility and competence for ensuring or supervising the implementation of aquatic animal health and welfare measures, international health certification and other standards and recommendations in the Aquatic Code in the whole territory.

Ed
Yes, but I'm not sure that would be just any veterinarian, as the directive states "in the whole territory". And, if you look up "Veterinary Authority", you get:

means the Governmental Authority of an OIE Member, comprising veterinarians, other professionals and para-professionals, having the responsibility and competence for ensuring or supervising the implementation of aquatic animal health and welfare measures, international aquatic animal health certification and other standards and recommendations in the Aquatic Code in the whole territory.
 

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Yes, but I'm not sure that would be just any veterinarian, as the directive states "in the whole territory". And, if you look up "Veterinary Authority", you get:
I think this is overreaching the language as that permit was written for country to country transport... in that case, you would be dealing with the goverment vet. Inside the US, it is way to premature to assume that they are going to require the state vet to provide the certification as this would swamp and bury the state vet with work far in excess of thier ability to handle. Zoos have actually been already following this standard for animal shipments for a number of years and they do not use the state vets. Instead they use the vet contracted to work for the Zoo who fills out a health certificate which is included in the shipment.


Ed
 

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So if I understand the possible outcome, would each frog need the vet check, which would be costly and time consuming to a breeder, probably cost prohibitive would be a better description. Or a vet screening the breeders entire collection and as long as nothing new is added it could be labled as clean? I think the latter would be more appropriate and more feasable.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Here are some questions that need answers:

1. Who qualifies for the certification?

2. Who will perform the certification?

3. How will the certification be conducted?

4. How much will the certification cost?

5. How long will the certification take?

6. How often does the certification have to be done?

7. Where will the certification take place?
 

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So if I understand the possible outcome, would each frog need the vet check, which would be costly and time consuming to a breeder, probably cost prohibitive would be a better description. Or a vet screening the breeders entire collection and as long as nothing new is added it could be labled as clean? I think the latter would be more appropriate and more feasable.
None of this is listed in the actual regulation as it hasn't been established yet. The filing of the petition requested that WHO standard be used but that has not been established as the final format that will be used.
Even if that format is established, there is language in the permit to establish a facility that is negative for chytrid. A full step by step was not outlined in the World Health Organization requirement (as that is up to the country in question as long as the vet is willing to certifies it as negative...).

This is what the comment period is intended to help figure out. If people want thier comments to be heard, then they need to be reasonable and to the point. If you rant and rave, your comment will be discounted.

People should also keep in mind that this will do nothing to the trade in amphibians within a state as within state transactions and transport is outside of the jurisdiction of USF&W.
 

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Here are some questions that need answers:

1. Who qualifies for the certification?

2. Who will perform the certification?

3. How will the certification be conducted?

4. How much will the certification cost?

5. How long will the certification take?

6. How often does the certification have to be done?

7. Where will the certification take place?
And these will be developed based on the comments recieved. They cannot be answered yet as the regulations for them have not been established as of yet, the comment period is so they can establish them...... if you want them answered then reasonable suggestions should be made to the USF&W.
 

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It should be noted that many sales are done in states where the breeders are not. In other words interstate shipping is extremely important in this hobby/business.Therefore I think an informed and realistic person would find stopping interstate shipping would be very bad .We have an administration in office that has a record of sweeping changes without regard to what rational people think.I feel we cant be too careful and complacent with what is at hand.
 

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It should be noted that many sales are done in states where the breeders are not. In other words interstate shipping is extremely important in this hobby/business.Therefore I think an informed and realistic person would find stopping interstate shipping would be very bad .We have an administration in office that has a record of sweeping changes without regard to what rational people think.I feel we cant be too careful and complacent with what is at hand.
The entire review process for the proposal is to deal with interstate and intercountry transfer of amphibians. If you are a breeder who sells across state lines, then letting them know how much of your declared income is made via amphibians and how this will affect you if you are prohibited from shipping is a good idea...

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #20
And these will be developed based on the comments recieved. They cannot be answered yet as the regulations for them have not been established as of yet, the comment period is so they can establish them...... if you want them answered then reasonable suggestions should be made to the USF&W.
Without knowing the answers to the questions I've posted, it's hard to say how an individual should respond to the USF&WS request for comments. For example, I'm sure that everyone here is in favour of things that will curtail the spread of Chytrid fungus, however, the answers to the questions I've posted will largely determine the reasonableness of the proposal. So, in my opinion, we do need answers to make an informed comment.
 
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