Issued on October 21, 2004
Contact: Patricia W. Fisher
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued an interim special rule that will allow trade in products derived from threatened beluga sturgeon as long as that trade is consistent with regulatory requirements already in force under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The interim rule also provides for the continuation of ongoing international cooperative conservation efforts to ensure the survival of the species in the wild.
A global agreement that monitors trade in endangered
and threatened wildlife through a system of permits, CITES also regulates,
when applicable, national harvest and export quotas for species in trade.
Beluga sturgeon is listed in Appendix II of CITES, a designation which
permits legal commercial trade in a listed species provided it is accompanied
by valid CITES documentation. In order to issue a CITES Appendix II permit
for commercial trade in beluga sturgeon and its products, an exporting
country must ensure the specimens were legally acquired, do not exceed
national export quotas registered with CITES, and are not detrimental
The interim special rule is intended to notify the public of the procedures the Service is using to allow legal trade to continue during the interval between the effective date of October 21, 2004 for the listing of threatened beluga sturgeon under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (Act) and the publication of a final special 4(d) rule which is expected by the end of January 2005.
This interim notice does not address or discuss comments received during the public comment period for the Special 4(d) Rule to Control the Trade in Threatened Beluga Sturgeon which was published in the June 20,2004 Federal Register on the proposed special 4(d) rule. It does, however, give the Service additional time to evaluate and consider all of the comments it received in response to the proposed rule.
A final determination to list beluga sturgeon as threatened under the Act was published on April 21, 2004; however, the listing's effective date was delayed until October 21, 2004.
For more information on the proposed special rule and this interim rule, go to: http://www.international.fws.gov.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal
agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife
and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of
small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69
national fish hatcheries, 64 Fish and Wildlife Management offices and