The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS” or “the Agency”) has recently announced its intention to release sensitive information relating to the import and export of wildlife specimens and flora (including merchandise) pursuant to several Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) requests that the Agency has received. This action would impact ALL importers and exporters of products subject to Fish and Wildlife regulations unless an objection is filed.
This information is contained within the Agency’s Law Enforcement Management Information System (“LEMIS”). The time period that is subject to release is “calendar year 1999, and from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2020.”
The sensitive data that is subject to disclosure includes:
- U.S. importer name, address, contact information
- U.S. exporter name, address, contact information
- Foreign shipper name, address, contact information
- Customs Broker name/ address, contact information
- Shipping information (Bill of Lading & Air Waybill numbers and related information).
- CITES permit numbers
- Shipment/species origin
- Merchandise quantity and value
Objections to the disclosure of the requested information must be received by FWS by June 11, 2021. Where an objection is not submitted on or before June 11, 2021, the Agency may release the information without redaction.
GDLSK has successfully prevented the release of business confidential information that was the subject of previous FWS FOIA Requests. It is our assessment that there are legal arguments available that would similarly preclude the release of confidential business information under the subject FOIA Request.
Please contact our office should you have any questions or require support in this matter.