Hello fellow US collections people,
I would like to get your advice how you understand the current legal situation regarding importing dead insect specimens for scientific purposes. We have to file form 3-177 with US Fish and Wildlife when we are getting or bringing dead specimens in the country. The Coleopterists Society webpage still mentions “Form 3-177 does not have to be filed for 180 days after importation for dead specimens” (https://www.coleopsoc.org/resources/importation-permits-into-the-us-for-natural-history-specimens/).
The Code of Federal Regulations (1 Oct 2018) allows this grace period:
“(d) Except for wildlife requiring a permit pursuant to part 16, 17, 18, 21, 22 or 23 of this subchapter, an importer or his/her agent does not have to file a Declaration for the Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife (Form 3-177) at the time of importation for shipments of dead, preserved, dried, or embedded scientific specimens or parts thereof, imported by accredited scientists or accredited scientific institutions for taxonomic or systematic research purposes. An importer or his/her agent must file a Form 3-177 within 180 days of importation with the appropriate Assistant Regional Director—Law Enforcement in the Region where the importation occurs. The declaration must identify the specimens to the most accurate taxonomic classification reasonably practicable using the best available taxonomic information, and must declare the country of origin. Except: That this exception will not apply to any specimens or parts thereof taken as a result of sport hunting.”
I was recently told that a 3-177 must be filed before or on entry into the US, referring to this document: https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2017-Aug/FWS%20ITDS%20Implementation%20Guide%2008-08-2017.pdf (CBP and Trade Automated Interface Requirements, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Requirements, August 2017), referring to Section 3.5: “FWS requires the filing of FWS Form 3-177 either in paper or in an electronic equivalent for most wildlife upon import (under FWS laws, this is upon arrival and not entry into U.S. commerce) and prior to export, as well as a document package (either paper or electronic) with accompanying/supporting documentation.” So this says “upon arrival”, but it also says “most wildlife” without specification. Do insects belong in the category of “most wildlife”?
Is the 180 days grace period still in legal existence, at least for insects?
I ask because it sometimes happens that one gets a package with specimens, without or with insufficient paperwork, arriving at one’s desk, and it takes some time to get the necessary documentation. According to these “Trade” regulations, the specimens would be illegally in the country already.
If anybody has a deeper insight in the current status of those regulations, some advice would be appreciated.
Dr. Frank-Thorsten Krell
Senior Curator of Entomology, Editor-in-Chief
Commissioner and Councillor, International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature
Department of Zoology
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
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Denver, Colorado 80205-5798, U.S.A.
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