The National Aquaculture Association suggests the following talking points for when you are speaking to House and Senate members about COMPETES Act, Section 71102, Lacey Act Amendments.
There is no need to amend the Lacey Act. The goals of Section 71102 are currently achieved through existing authorities provided by the Act:
- Tribes and states regulate or restrict nonnative species. Under the Lacey Act it is unlawful to import, export, sell, acquire, or purchase fish, wildlife or plants that are taken, possessed, transported, or sold: 1) in violation of federal, state or tribal law, or 2) in interstate or foreign commerce involving any fish, wildlife, or plants taken possessed or sold in violation of State or foreign law.
- For 120 years the Lacey Act has provided the Secretary of Agriculture, and now the Secretary of Interior, with the power to ban importation of animals “injurious to human beings, to the interests of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, or to wildlife or the wildlife resources of the United States.”
Talking points for each of the three provisions within Section 71102 are:
Section 71102(a) Regulating Interstate Trade
We oppose the Section 71102 for empowering the Secretary of Interior (Secretary) to prohibit the interstate movement of nonnative or native animals within the continental United States. This provision does not provide any flexibility to the Secretary to allow interstate trade of species in regions of the country where these animals pose little to no risk. The proposed federal prohibition in Section 71102 is a blanket prohibition nationwide.
The United States is composed of a mosaic distinct ecoregions. As a practical outcome, policies and regulations to manage native and non-native animals are and can be very different for New Mexico versus Delaware as appropriate to their natural and social environments. States, Tribes, territories and possessions should be supported in their efforts to manage native and nonnative species as appropriate to their distinct biotic and abiotic differences. Please click here to access an ecoregion map created and maintained by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
We recommend the Lacey Act be amended to improve the capability and capacity for the Secretary to assess the risk to the continental United States as a whole or any particular ecoregion to inform State and Tribal identification and listing of Injurious Wildlife by collaboratively assessing risk with national resource managers, ecologist, biologists and affected stakeholders as recommended in the 2009 National Research Council publication Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment.
Section 71102(a) Emergency Rule
We oppose Section 71102 for empowering the Secretary to list a species under emergency rule for a three-year period without due process involving advance notice, opportunity to comment, public hearings, etc.
Section 71102(d) Presumptive Prohibition on Importation
We oppose Section 71102 for empowering the Secretary to create, with public comment, an approved list of species for importation. Approved lists, commonly known as “White Lists,” are unusual for the federal government as a regulatory body or signatory or participant to international agreements and organizations predicated on prohibiting or restricting species trade for at-risk animals. A White List may be challenged by World Trade Organization members.
- Recent analysis for a 10-year period reported animal imports consisted of 12,924 unique species names within more than 2 million shipments consisting of more than 3.2 billion live organisms. A White List will increase the numbers of individual animal identifications by 28 times the current responsibility of inadequately staffed ports of entry personnel.
- The Secretary cannot assess which animals, amongst the estimated 204,614 nonnative species required to be assessed in Section 71102, are traded in minimal quantities to include on a White List. The Secretary does not maintain animal quantity information for ornamental fish and certain large related groups of birds (i.e., Family taxon). Nor does the Secretary possess interstate trade animal quantity data.
- The responsibility placed upon the Secretary’s port and border crossing inspectors to rapidly and accurately distinguish all of these species for animal health and welfare reasons is impracticable. The currently required 785 Injurious Wildlife species, 628 Endangered Species Act listed species, 5,945 CITES listed species and the 204,614 species potentially required by Section 71102 is beyond the ability of experienced taxonomists. This unreasonable burden should not be forced upon inspectors and would certainly result in an extremely high turnover in staff and loss of expertise.
We anticipate with the implementation of a White List, then by Secretarial action or public litigation, those species not included on this list will be de facto treated as Injurious Wildlife, whether or not specifically published on an Injurious Wildlife list, and banned for interstate transport as well as importation as provided in Section 71102.
- Current, publicly posted analyses by the Secretary points to an import and interstate trade prohibition of many of the aquatic animals commonly farmed in the United States as seafood, fish for recreational stocking, control of nuisance aquatic plants and aquarium and water gardening hobbies.
To access the in-depth analysis by the National Aquaculture Association that supports these talking points, please visit and share: NAA-COMPETES-Act-Section-71102-Analysis-and-Recommendations.pdf (thenaa.net).