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[Killietalk] RE: Importations
I missed the back and forth this weekend since I don't have a computer at
home but I wanted to make a few comments about US F&W and the process for
bringing fish into the US.
First off I did want to note that I had heard complaints about including
legistlative and legal updates in JAKA which I felt were unjustified. At
the base of these arguments is a lack of knowledge of just what is going on.
In the past we would get info from PIJAC (?, Pet Industry Joint Advisory
Council?) both to the regular member and the BOT. Often times the info
didn't much pertain to the killie hobby or in other cases we often felt that
our hobby would be able to operate under the radar. We also had a Hobby and
Environment Committee that was spotty in operation but did provide useful
info on impacts to our killie keeping. Maybe the biggest battle/problem we
encountered was the Lacy act and the debate over a clean list or dirty
list--thankfully we never got to a clean list which would have restricted
the number of species of fish we could exchange.
What we are seeing today is a result of many things. 9/11 has upped the
cost of air cargo and thereby killed off a lot of the commercial breeding of
killies in Europe. Bigger than that was the anthrax issue which causes you
to jump through hoops when mailing fish. The rise of the Green party in
Europe has killed off mailing of fish into the EU. However, I think the
biggest thing that has hurt us is a realization by the Department of the
Interior of the extent of poaching of reptiles on federal land. Several
sting operations uncovered a very large underground commerce which I believe
led to a beefing up of vigilance in the area that addresses hobby oriented
wildlife. With that US F&W has begun to intensify the control of wildlife
materials coming in from "south of the border", especially items picked up
by vacationers in the Carribean.
So what is in the purview of F&W. Anything over 6 fish is considered a
commercial importation. Them's the rules, if you are able to get around
'em, bully for you. Hence, if you are going to bring more than that into
the country, it is best to get an import license from US F&W which will cost
you $50 a year. Prior to my most recent trip, my local F&W office was very
good to me in that a few folks before me did some good ground work and
demonstrated what killies were and how we were handling (and consuming
them). During 3 trips to shows in Europe and one DKG importation I handled
everything via fax submittals and got an approved fax of my declaration
(3-177's) to get through US Customs and the Dept. of Agriculture inspection.
The only reason it was different this time was I was collecting in South
America with a group and it was suggested that I use the EDECS system to
electronically submit my declaration and have the approved documents ready
online to print out when I needed them. I missed getting a notification
that everything was approved, however, and was in a bit of a panic and got
everyone else on the trip thinking we might be inspected when we landed
early last Monday. Because the submission process is automated, it was also
tied into an electronic accounting system. That convenience cost me the $55
for the inspection fee and a $40 non-designated entry port fee which I might
have gotten around if I had filed for an exception (by port) which costs $25
and is good for 2 years. As Wright Huntley stated in his e-mail, if you are
straight with them, they are pretty fair to you.
I will state I had a bad experience like Curt Smith on the CKA show last
year. I did have a lot of fish I was bringing back into the US and the
folks at the border crossing in Buffalo stopped me and forced me to wait for
an inspector to get there from the Buffalo airport. In the end, the hastle
cost me a $55 inspection fee but I never sent the (voluntary??) $40
non-designated port fee in.
My advice, be upfront as much as you can or are willing to risk. Get a
license or ask if you can be an "agent" on someoneelses (but remember, they
can pay a stiff fine if you get them in trouble). AS for exporting,
ah...stupid works so far, but it won't always work.
To join the AKA see http://www.aka.org/pages/join.html
Archives are at http://fins.actwin.com/killietalk/