usfws regulation question

Doug Yanega dyanega at
Wed Nov 19 14:55:38 EST 1997

Mark Walker wrote:

>>What it comes down to then is that
>> people are in the habit of ignoring the rules, and no one at USFWS really
>> cares, but all it takes is that one time where a USFWS agent gets wind of
>> something and decides to *apply* the rules to get everyone in an uproar
>> again. When they play a "selective enforcement" game, it makes every
>> *actual* enforcement action they take seem like a personal vendetta.
>> Basically, the rules seem to exist solely to give the USFWS a legal leg to
>> stand on when they really need to haul someone into court.
>I agree with this, but there are at least two ways to look at it.  One way is
>to consider the lack of enforcement as an alarm that not enough is being done
>to protect the environment.  The other way is to consider the lack of
>enforcement as an indication that there is too much bureaucracy and too many
>ridiculous rules in place.  I suspect that the truth is somewhere in between.
>Any traffic which does not violate the _spirit_ of the law should not be
>prosecuted.  Meanwhile, there still aren't enough USFWS personnel to properly
>filter the chaff from the wheat.
>And, as usual, the few who are grossly exploiting the situation are ruining it
>for everyone else.

I also think the truth is somewhere in between, despite my negative tone.
I'm glad the rules exist, I'm glad there *is* some legal basis for
prosecuting the folks who exploit the situation - I just wish these rules
weren't poorly-constructed (and poorly-enforced) and thus *capable* of
interfering with research. When I say the folks at USFWS don't care,
obviously I'm referring to not caring about people sending museum specimens
around for research purposes - but if they don't intend to impede research,
then why do they write these rules the way they do (and force us to pounce
on them to change things) instead of writing the rules properly the first
time around?
        Also, thanks to Ken Philip for dragging out the old regs and
clarifying that export is different from import as far as filing form
3-177, a nuance that I'd obviously forgotten. Norbert and others can safely
cart insects back to their native countries from the US as long as nothing
is protected, illegally collected, or worth over $250 - which should be
just fine for responsible amateurs' and researchers' purposes.


Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-449-2579, fax: 031-441-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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