The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service receives its authority through a number of laws, treaties, and regulations focused on conservation. These various forms of legislation provide a framework and specific guidelines for much of the work the Service does domestically and internationally.

Follow the links below to read more about each treaty or law to which the United States is a party.

For the Service’s guide to fish and wildlife laws relating to the import, export, trade and sale of wildlife, click here pdf.

For permit related laws, visit our Branch of Permits page.

Treaties & Conventions

Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR)

U.S.-Japan Migratory Bird Convention

Bilateral/Multilateral Agreements

U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trilateral Committee Agreement

U.S.-Russia Environmental Agreement

U.S.-China Nature Conservation Protocol

U.S. Conservation Laws 

Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA)

Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA)

Lacey Act

Pelly Amendment

Multinational Species Conservation Acts


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