Fish and Wildlife firms up operations in Houston, Louisville, Memphis
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated Houston; Louisville, Ky.; and Memphis as ports that will directly handle imports and exports of wild animals and related products, starting Jan. 5.
The 1973 Endangered Species Act requires that all fish and wildlife, with only limited exceptions, be shipped through designated ports. This helps Fish and Wildlife more efficiently enforce wildlife protection laws and regulations.
The agency selected Houston, Louisville and Memphis based on numerous criteria, such as volume of wildlife shipments, geographic diversity, frequency of requests for designated port exception permits, and the proximity to existing ports of entry.
In its fiscal 2004 budget appropriation, the agency received $700,000 each to establish designated ports in Louisville and Memphis. Fish and Wildlife has not yet received an appropriation from Congress to set up operations at Houston. However, the designation of Houston has been under discussion for a while, the agency said.
In addition to Houston, Memphis and Louisville, Fish and Wildlife has 14 designated ports. At these ports, the agency maintains a staff of inspectors to inspect and clear wildlife shipments.
A wildlife shipper who does not use a designated port must obtain a $25 designated port exception permit, in addition to covering other related expenses.
Fish and Wildlife pointed out that Houston’s designation will save commercial shippers of wildlife at least $40 per shipment and non-commercial shippers a minimum of $40 per shipment.