[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 180 (Friday, September 17, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 56975-56976]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-23039]


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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: http://www.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 http://www.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 http://www.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 http://www.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