F&WS Hikes Inspection Fees, Sets New Requirements

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is increasing inspection fees for import and export of wildlife and wildlife products in order to recover more of the costs of inspecting shipments from those who use these services. The agency also is adding new fees for certain types of shipments and eliminating some exemptions from import/export license and inspection fee requirements.

The changes are documented in a final rule that was published recently in the Federal Register. The agency will implement the new fees and requirements on Jan. 8, 2009.

"These changes will ensure that those who benefit from wildlife trade pay a fair share of the costs of regulating that trade," said Service Director H. Dale Hall. "The new fee system will help us maintain vital inspection services and treat importers and exporters more equitably."

Most imports and exports of wildlife and wildlife products must be declared and cleared by wildlife inspectors. Individuals or companies engaged in commercial wildlife trade must be licensed by the Fish & Wildlife Service and pay inspection fees for their shipments. The current fee structure dates back to 1996 and does not cover the costs of providing inspections. Without a fee increase, the service will be forced to cut back on inspection services.

During 2009, the Service will collect a $37 premium fee for imports or exports of live wildlife. A separate $37 premium fee will be charged for imports or exports of species protected under federal law when a permit is required. Such wildlife includes federally listed endangered or threatened species, migratory birds, marine mammals, injurious species, and wildlife protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. If a shipment contains both live wildlife and species protected under federal law, the importer or exporter will pay two premium fees.

Premium fees will increase each year over the remaining years covered by the fee schedule, rising from $37 in 2009 to $93 in 2012.

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