US verifies the option to list 15 sturgeon species under the ESA

Based upon a petition to List 15 species of sturgeon under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by NGOs, the USFWS and NOAA conducted a 90-Day Finding that in its risk summary concludes:“we find that the petition presents substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted.” “To ensure that this status review is comprehensive, we request scientific and commercial data and other information regarding these species. At the conclusion of this review, we will issue a 12-month finding on the petition, as provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act.”

Under ESA, the US are enabled to list also species that are not native or do not occur in the US. When listed (section 1538.a.1 of the ESA) it is unlawful to:

(A) Import any such species into, or export any such species from the United States;

(D) Possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship, by any means whatsoever, any such species...;

(E) Deliver, receive, carry, transport, or ship in interstate or foreign commerce, by any means whatsoever and in the course of a commercial activity, any such species;

(F) Sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any such species

The period for commenting on the proposal to list 5 species under the NOAA risk assessment is still open until December 15th. You can obtain the petition, the
proposed rule, and the list of references electronically on the NMFS Web site at
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/.

WSCS in a comment expressed its concern that the proposed listing will not result in improved protection of the species since the underlying reasons for the status of the species (poaching, habitat loss, pollution)  in most cases will not be affected  by unilateral measures outside of the range countries, while the proposed listing will adversely affect aquaculture both in the US and  abroad since maintaining and transferring products of protected animals is a violation of the ESA. This is considered the wrong signal since substantial efforts have been carried out to become independent from wild sources and supporting the caviar and meat markets by supplying more than 95% of the international caviar sales. As such the industry decreases the pressure on the remaining wild stocks except for illegal supply to local markets.

WSCS strongly advocates for coordinated international activities that could make use of established conventions and bilateral agreements rather than an unilateral move which might be considered symbolic but fails its target to improve the protection of the species in question within the range countries. (click here)

The excerpt of the Federal Register is available as download by clicking here