Imports or exports made in violation of US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) requirements are subject to exclusion and or seizure. Repeated violations can result in the revocation of an importer’s or exporter’s FWS license. Unlike violations of the customs laws where penalties for negligent and even grossly negligent behavior are subject to mitigation, FWS requirements are subject to a strict liability standard, i.e., the intent and experience of the importer or exporter are not considered.
It is imperative for both importers and exporters to confirm that their wildlife products, including products containing components made in whole or in part from protected wildlife, are in full compliance with all FWS laws and regulations. We assist clients in understanding all facets of the FWS and state wildlife requirements including import/export documentation, licensing and permit requirements.
Our office is able to provide clients with a comprehensive regulatory review to determine whether the individual wildlife species utilized in their products are subject to regulation or prohibition under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and various foreign laws relating to trade in endangered or exotic species. Our analysis includes a review of relevant laws at the domestic state level as well inasmuch as many individual domestic states have established their own regulatory schemes which may prohibit or restrict the sale and distribution of species that would otherwise be permitted under the federal FWS laws.
We also provide guidance as to the specific CITES/foreign country permits and FWS filing requirements applicable for each product subject to wildlife regulation.