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USFWS asks for info/recs on species for U.S. proposals to amend CITES Appendices I & II


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#1 Ellen Paul

Ellen Paul

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 09:45 AM

Deadline is 3/26.

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 15 (Tuesday, January 23, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3179-3182]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-01128]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-HQ-IA-2017-0079; XXXXX-XXX-0000 FY18-XX]


Species Proposals for Consideration at the Eighteenth Regular 
Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on 
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: We (the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) invite you to provide 
us with information and recommendations on animal and plant species to 
be considered as candidates for U.S. proposals to amend Appendices I 
and II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species 
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, or the Convention) at the upcoming 
eighteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP18). Such 
amendments may concern the addition of species to Appendix I or II, the 
transfer of species from one Appendix to another, or the removal of 
species from Appendices. We also describe the U.S. approach to 
preparations for CoP18. We will publish a second Federal Register 
notice specifically to solicit information and recommendations on 
possible resolutions, decisions, and agenda items for discussion at 
CoP18 and to provide information on how to request approved observer 
status.

DATES: We will consider all information and comments we receive on or 
before March 26, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-HQ-
IA-2017-0079.
     Hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public 
Comments Processing; Attn: Docket No. FWS-HQ-IA-2017-0079; U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service Headquarters; MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls 
Church, VA 22041-3803.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rosemarie Gnam, Chief, Division of 
Scientific Authority, 703-358-1708 (phone); 703-358-2276 (fax); or 
scientificauthority@fws.gov (email).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
hereby notify you of the convening of 18th meeting of the Conference of 
the Parties (CoP18) of the Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, or the Convention), 
which is scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka from 23 May to 3 June 2019. 
We invite you to provide us with information and recommendations on 
animal and plant species to be considered as candidates for U.S. proposals to amend 
Appendices I and II of CITES at CoP18. Such 
amendments may concern the addition of species to Appendix I or II, the 
transfer of species from one Appendix to another, or the removal of 
species from Appendices. We also describe the U.S. approach to 
preparations for CoP18. We will publish subsequent Federal Register 
notices to request information and recommendations on resolutions, 
decisions, and agenda items for discussion at CoP18 and to provide 
information on how to request approved observer status.

Background

    The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild 
Fauna and Flora (CITES, or the Convention) is an international treaty 
designed to regulate international trade in certain animal and plant 
species that are now, or potentially may become, threatened with 
extinction. These species are included in the Appendices to CITES, 
which are available on the CITES Secretariat's website at http://www.cites.org/eng/disc/species.php.
    Currently there are 183 Parties to CITES, 182 countries, including 
the United States, and one regional economic integration organization, 
the European Union. The Convention calls for regular meetings of the 
Conference of the Parties (Conference, or CoP) every 2-3 years, unless 
the Conference decides otherwise. At these meetings, the Parties review 
the implementation of CITES, make provisions enabling the CITES 
Secretariat in Switzerland to carry out its functions, consider 
amendments to the list of species in Appendices I and II, consider 
reports presented by the Secretariat, and make recommendations for the 
improved effectiveness of CITES. Any Party to CITES may propose 
amendments to Appendices I and II, resolutions, decisions, and agenda 
items for consideration by all the Parties at the meeting.
    This is our first in a series of Federal Register notices that, 
together with a public meeting (time and place to be announced), 
provide you with an opportunity to participate in the development of 
the U.S. submissions to, and negotiating positions for, the 18th 
regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP18). Our 
regulations governing this public process are found in title 50 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at Sec.  23.87.

U.S. Approach for the Conference of the Parties

What are the priorities for U.S. submissions to CoP18?

    Priorities for U.S. submissions to CoP18 continue to be consistent 
with the overall objective of U.S. participation in the Convention: to 
maximize the effectiveness of the Convention in the conservation and 
sustainable use of species subject to international trade. With this in 
mind, we plan to consider the following factors in determining issues 
to submit for inclusion in the agenda at CoP18:
    (1) Does the proposed action address a serious wildlife or plant 
trade issue that the United States is experiencing as a range country 
for species in trade? Since our primary responsibility is the 
conservation of our domestic wildlife resources, we will give native 
species the highest priority. We will place particular emphasis on 
terrestrial and freshwater species with the majority of their range in 
the United States and its territories that are or may be traded in 
significant numbers; marine species that occur in U.S. waters or for 
which the United States is a major trader; and threatened and 
endangered species for which we and other Federal and State agencies 
already have statutory responsibility for protection and recovery. We 
also consider CITES listings as a proactive measure to monitor and 
manage trade in native species in order to preclude the need for the 
application of stricter measures, such as listing under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), or inclusion 
in CITES Appendix I.
    (2) Does the proposed action address a serious wildlife or plant 
trade issue for species not native to the United States? As a major 
importer of wildlife, plants, and their products, the United States has 
taken responsibility, by working in close consultation with range 
countries, for addressing cases of potential over-exploitation of 
foreign species in the wild. In some cases, the United States may not 
be a range country or a significant trading country for a species, but 
we will work closely with other countries to conserve species being 
threatened by unsustainable exploitation for international trade. We 
will consider CITES listings for species not native to the United 
States if these listings will assist in addressing cases of known or 
potential over-exploitation of foreign species in the wild, and in 
preventing illegal, unregulated trade, especially if the United States 
is a major importer. These species will be prioritized based on the 
extent of trade and status of the species, and also the role the 
species plays in the ecosystem, with emphasis on those species for 
which a CITES listing would offer the greatest conservation benefits to 
the species, associated species, and their habitats.
    (3) Does the proposed action provide additional conservation 
benefit for a species already covered by another international 
agreement? The United States will consider the inclusion of such a 
species under CITES when it would enhance the conservation of the 
species by ensuring that international trade is effectively regulated 
and not detrimental to the survival of the species.

Request for Information and Recommendations for Amending Appendices I 
or II

Criteria for Inclusion

    The purpose of this notice is to request information and 
recommendations that will help us identify species that the United 
States should propose for addition to, removal from, or 
reclassification in the CITES Appendices, or to identify issues 
warranting attention by the CITES specialists on zoological and 
botanical nomenclature. This request is not limited to species 
occurring in the United States. Any Party may submit proposals 
concerning animal or plant species occurring in the wild anywhere in 
the world. We encourage the submission of information on any species 
for possible inclusion in the Appendices if the species is subject to 
international trade that is, or may become, detrimental to the survival 
of the species. We also encourage you to keep in mind the U.S. approach 
to CoP18, described in this notice in the section U.S. Approach for the 
Conference of the Parties, when considering which species the United 
States should propose for inclusion in the Appendices.
    We are not necessarily requesting complete proposals, but they are 
always welcome. However, we are asking you to submit convincing 
information describing: (1) The status of the species, especially trend 
information; (2) conservation and management programs for the species, 
including the effectiveness of enforcement efforts; and (3) the level 
of international as well as domestic trade in the species, especially 
trend information. You may also provide any other relevant information, 
and we appreciate receiving a list of references.
    The term ``species'' is defined in CITES as ``any species, 
subspecies, or geographically separate population thereof.'' Each species for which 
trade is controlled under CITES is included in one of three Appendices, 
either as a separate listing or incorporated within the listing of a 
higher taxon. The basic standards for inclusion of species in the 
Appendices are contained in Article II of CITES (text of the Convention 
is on the CITES Secretariat's website at http://www.cites.org/eng/disc/text.php). Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction that 
are or may be affected by trade. Appendix II includes species that, 
although not necessarily now threatened with extinction, may become so 
unless trade in them is strictly controlled. Appendix II also includes 
species that must be subject to regulation in order that trade in other 
CITES-listed species may be brought under effective control. Such 
``look-alike'' inclusions usually are necessary because of difficulty 
inspectors have at ports of entry or exit in distinguishing one species 
from other species.
    CITES specifies that international trade in any readily 
recognizable parts or derivatives of animals included in Appendices I 
or II, or plants included in Appendix I, is subject to the same 
conditions that apply to trade in the whole organisms. With certain 
standard exclusions formally approved by the Parties, the same applies 
to the readily recognizable parts and derivatives of most plant species 
included in Appendix II. Parts and derivatives often not included 
(i.e., not regulated) for Appendix-II plants are seeds, spores, pollen 
(including pollinia), and seedlings or tissue cultures obtained in 
vitro and transported in sterile containers. You may refer to the CITES 
Appendices on the Secretariat's website at http://www.cites.org/eng/app/index.php for further exceptions and limitations.
    In 1994, the CITES Parties adopted criteria for inclusion of 
species in Appendices I and II (in Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17)). 
These criteria apply to all listing proposals and are available from 
the CITES Secretariat's website at http://www.cites.org/eng/res/index.php or upon request from the Division of Scientific Authority at 
scientificauthority@fws.gov, or via mail from CITES--Division of 
Scientific Authority; 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: IA; Falls Church, VA 
22041-3803. Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17) also provides a format 
for proposals to amend the Appendices. This information is also 
available upon request from the Division of Scientific Authority or via 
mail (see contact information above).

What information should be submitted?

    To provide us with information and recommendations on species 
subject to international trade for possible proposals to amend the 
Appendices, please include as much of the following information as 
possible in your submission:
    (1) Scientific name and common name;
    (2) Population size estimates (including references if available);
    (3) Population trend information;
    (4) Threats to the species (other than trade);
    (5) The level or trend of international trade (as specific as 
possible, but without a request for new searches of our records);
    (6) The level or trend in total take from the wild (as specific as 
reasonable); and
    (7) A short summary statement clearly presenting the rationale for 
inclusion in, or removal or transfer from, one of the Appendices, 
including which of the criteria in Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17) 
are met.
    If you wish to submit more complete proposals for us to consider, 
please consult Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17) for the format for 
proposals and a detailed explanation of each of the categories. 
Proposals to transfer a species from Appendix I to Appendix II, or to 
remove a species from Appendix II, must also be in accordance with the 
precautionary measures described in Annex 4 of Resolution Conf. 9.24 
(Rev. CoP17).

What will we do with the information we receive?

    The information that you submit will help us decide if we should 
submit, or co-sponsor with other Parties, a proposal to amend the CITES 
Appendices. However, there may be qualifying species for which we may 
decide not to submit a proposal to CoP18. Our decision will be based on 
a number of factors, including available scientific and trade 
information; whether or not the species is native to the United States; 
and, for foreign species, whether or not a proposal is supported or co-
sponsored by at least one range country for the species. These factors 
and others are included in the U.S. Approach for the Conference of the 
Parties section. We will carefully consider all factors of the U.S. 
approach when deciding which species the United States should propose 
for inclusion in the Appendices.
    We will consult range countries for foreign species, and for 
species we share with other countries, after receiving and analyzing 
the information provided by the public in response to this notice as 
well as other information available to us.
    One important function of the CITES Scientific Authority of each 
Party is monitoring the international trade in plant and animal species 
and ongoing scientific assessments of the impact of that trade on 
species. For native U.S. species included in Appendices I and II, we 
monitor trade and export permits authorized so that we can prevent 
overutilization and restrict exports if necessary. We also work closely 
with the States to ensure that species are correctly listed in the 
CITES Appendices (or not listed, if listing is not warranted). For 
these reasons, we actively seek information about U.S. and foreign 
species subject to international trade.

Next Steps

    The next regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP18) 
is scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka 23 May to 3 June 2019. The United 
States must submit any proposals to amend Appendix I or II, or any 
draft resolutions, decisions, or agenda items for discussion at CoP18, 
to the CITES Secretariat at least 150 days prior to the start of the 
meeting. In order to meet this deadline and to prepare for CoP18, we 
have developed a tentative U.S. schedule.
    We plan to publish a Federal Register notice approximately 16 
months prior to CoP18; in that notice, we intend to request potential 
resolutions, decisions, and agenda items for discussion at CoP18. 
Approximately 12 months prior to CoP18, we intend to announce the 
tentative species proposals that the United States is considering 
submitting for CoP18 and request further information and comments. 
Approximately 10 months prior to CoP18, we plan to publish a Federal 
Register notice announcing proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda 
items the United States is considering submitting for CoP18. 
Approximately 5 months prior to CoP18, we will post on our website an 
announcement of the species proposals, draft resolutions, draft 
decisions, and agenda items submitted by the United States to the CITES 
Secretariat for consideration at CoP18.
    Through a series of additional notices and website postings in 
advance of CoP18, we will inform you about preliminary negotiating 
positions on resolutions, decisions, and amendments to the Appendices 
proposed by other Parties for consideration at CoP18, and about how to 
obtain observer status from us. We will also publish an announcement of a public meeting 
tentatively to be held approximately 5 months prior to CoP18; that 
meeting will enable us to receive public input on our positions 
regarding CoP18 issues.
    The procedures for developing U.S. documents and negotiating 
positions for a meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES are 
outlined in 50 CFR 23.87. As noted, we may modify or suspend the 
procedures outlined there if they would interfere with the timely or 
appropriate development of documents for submission to the CoP and of 
U.S. negotiating positions.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. 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.

Author

    The primary author of this notice is Thomas E.J. Leuteritz, 
Division of Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Authority

    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

Gregory J. Sheehan,
Principal Deputy Director.
[FR Doc. 2018-01128 Filed 1-22-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-55-P







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