[Federal Register: January 30, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 20)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 4613-4615]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 23

Request for Information and Recommendations on Species to 
Consider for Changes to the CITES Appendices

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Request for information.


SUMMARY: This notice solicits recommendations for amending Appendices I 
or II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of 
Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
invites information and comment from the public on animal or plant 
species that should be considered as candidates for U.S. proposals to 
amend Appendices I or II. Such amendments may concern the addition of 
species to Appendix I or II, the transfer of species from one Appendix 
to another, or the removal of species from Appendix I or II.

DATES: The Service will consider all information and comments received 
by March 31, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Correspondence concerning this request pertaining to species 
amendments should be sent to Chief, Office of Scientific Authority; 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 750; 
Arlington, Virginia 22203. Comments and materials received will be 
available for public inspection by appointment from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, at the Office of Scientific Authority.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Susan Lieberman, Acting Chief, 
Office of Scientific Authority, phone 703-358-1708, fax 703-358-2276, 
e-mail susan__lieberman@fws.gov.



    The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild 
Fauna and Flora, TIAS 8249 (hereinafter referred to as CITES or the 
Convention), is an international treaty designed to control and 
regulate international trade in certain animal and plant species that 
are now or potentially may be threatened with extinction. These species 
are listed in Appendices to CITES, copies of which are available from 
the Office of Scientific Authority at the above address or from the 
Service's World Wide Web site http://www.fws.gov/r9dia/applinks.html. 
Currently 143 countries, including the United States, are Parties to 
the Convention. CITES calls for biennial meetings of the Conference of 
the Parties, which review its implementation, make provisions enabling 
the CITES Secretariat in Switzerland to carry out its functions, 
consider amendments to the list of species in Appendices I and II, 
consider reports presented by the Secretariat, and make recommendations 
for the improved effectiveness of CITES. Any country that is a Party to 
CITES may propose amendments to Appendices I and II for consideration 
by the other Parties.
    This is the first in a series of Federal Register notices which, 
together with announced public meetings, provide an opportunity for the 
public to participate in the development of the United States' 
negotiating positions for the eleventh regular meeting of the 
Conference of the Parties to CITES (COP11). The Service's regulations 
governing this public process are found in 50 CFR 23.31-23.39.
    The Service expects the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the 
Parties to be held in November 1999, in Indonesia.

Request for Information and Comments

    One of the purposes of this notice is to solicit information that 
will help the Service identify species that are candidates for 
addition, removal, or reclassification in the CITES Appendices or to 
identify issues warranting attention by the CITES Nomenclature 
Committee. This request is not limited to species occurring in the 
United States. Although U.S. proposals submitted for recent Conferences 
of the Parties have focused on species native to the United States, any 
Party may submit proposals concerning animal or plant species occurring 
in the wild anywhere in the world. The Service encourages the 
submission of information on species for possible inclusion in the 
Appendices if these species are subject to international trade that may 
be detrimentally impacting the status of the species. Complete 
proposals are not being requested at this time, but rather we are 
asking interested persons to submit convincing information describing: 
(1) The status of the species, especially trend information; (2) 
conservation and management programs for the species, including the 
effectiveness of enforcement efforts; and (3) the level of domestic as 
well as international trade in the species, especially trend 
information. Any other relevant information can also be provided.
    The term ``species'' is defined in CITES as ``any species, sub-
species, or geographically separate population thereof.'' Each species 
for which trade is controlled is included in one of three Appendices, 
either as a separate listing or incorporated within the listing of a 
higher taxon. The basic standards for inclusion of species in the 
Appendices are contained in Article II of CITES. Appendix I includes 
species threatened with extinction that are or may be affected by 
trade. Appendix II includes species which, although not necessarily now 
threatened with extinction, may become so unless trade in them is 
strictly controlled.
    Appendix II also lists species that must be subject to regulation 
in order that trade in those currently and potentially threatened 
species may be brought under effective control. Such listings 
frequently are required because of difficulty in distinguishing 
specimens of currently or potentially threatened

[[Page 4614]]

species from other species at ports of entry. Appendix III includes 
species that any Party country identifies as being subject to 
regulation within its jurisdiction for purposes of preventing or 
restricting exploitation and for which it needs the cooperation of 
other Parties to control trade. The present notice concerns only 
Appendices I and II.
    CITES specifies that international trade in any readily 
recognizable part or derivative of animals listed in Appendix I or II, 
or plants listed in Appendix I, is subject to the same conditions that 
apply to trade in the whole organism. With certain standard exclusions 
formally approved by the Parties, the same applies to the readily 
recognizable parts and derivatives of most plant species listed in 
Appendix II. Parts and derivatives usually not included (i.e., not 
regulated) for Appendix II plants are: seeds, spores, pollen (including 
pollinia), and seedling or tissue cultures obtained in vitro and 
transported in sterile containers. Also see 50 CFR 23.23(d), and the 
October 6, 1995, Federal Register (60 FR 52450) and February 22, 1996, 
Federal Register (61 FR 6793) for further exceptions and limitations.
    In 1994, the CITES Parties adopted new criteria for inclusion of 
species in Appendices I and II (in Resolution Conf. 9.24). These 
criteria apply to all future proposals and are available from the CITES 
Secretariat, the World Conservation Monitoring Centre's World Wide Web 
site, or upon request to the Office of Scientific Authority (see 
ADDRESSES section above). Resolution Conf. 9.24 also established a 
format for complete proposals.
    However, for purpose of submitting information on species subject 
to international trade for possible listing in the Appendices, 
submitters of such information to the Service are asked to include as 
much of the following information as possible:
    (1) Scientific name and common name;
    (2) Population size estimates (including reference if available);
    (3) Population trend information;
    (4) Threats to species status (other than from trade);
    (5) Level/trend of international trade (as specific as possible but 
without a request for new searches of Service records);
    (6) Level/trend in total take from the wild (as specific as 
reasonable); and
    (7) Short summary statement clearly presenting the rationale for 
inclusion in or delisting from one of the Appendices.
    Persons wishing to submit more complete proposals for the United 
States to consider, should consult Resol. Conf. 9.24 for the format for 
proposals and a detailed explanation of each of the categories. 
Proposals to transfer a species from Appendix I to Appendix II, or to 
remove a species from Appendix II, must be consistent with the 
precautionary measures described in Annex 4 of Resol. Conf. 9.24.
    Persons having information and comments on species that are 
potential candidates for CITES proposals are urged to contact the 
Service's Office of Scientific Authority.

Species Being Considered

    The Service is considering proposing to transfer the North American 
population of the gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) from Appendix I to 
Appendix II. The gyrfalcon is circumpolar in distribution, including 
arctic and subarctic regions of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Iceland. 
The Service is not aware of any evidence that the North American 
gyrfalcon population has ever been threatened due to habitat loss, nest 
robbing, or trade. European range States have expressed concern in the 
past about enforcement problems that could arise if the North American 
population of this bird were downlisted. However, husbandry techniques 
have been developed for breeding the species in captivity, and the 
trade in North American gyrfalcons would not appear to pose a 
significant threat to the European gyrfalcon populations.
    The Service is also considering proposing to include the timber 
rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) in Appendix II. The timber rattlesnake 
occurs in 27 of the States, from New Hampshire and Minnesota south to 
Texas and Florida, having been extirpated from Maine and Rhode Island. 
Populations of timber rattlesnakes have declined greatly over much of 
their range. They are listed as endangered in many northern States, but 
commercial utilization is occurring for the pet trade, and for meat and 
leather products.
    Draft proposals on the North American population of the gyrfalcon 
and on the timber rattlesnake are available from the Office of 
Scientific Authority for review and comment. Additional information on 
biological status and trade levels is solicited.
    Furthermore, the CITES Animals Committee as part of its 
responsibilities under Resolution Conf. 9.1 (Rev.) Annex 2 to conduct 
periodic reviews of the Appendices, has noted that the Sonoran green 
toad (Bufo retiformis) and the orange-throated whiptail lizard 
(Cnemidophorus hyperythrus) have not been reported to be in 
international trade, and the United States and Mexico should consider 
proposing to remove them from the Appendices. Therefore the Service 
solicits biological and trade information on these two species.
    At its November 1997 meeting, the CITES Plants Committee in accord 
with its responsibilities under Resolution Conf. 9.1 (Rev.) Annex 3, 
committed to conducting a review of all plant species or other taxa 
included in the Appendices before COP5 in 1985 (except for the higher-
taxon listings of cycads, and the family listings of tree ferns, 
orchids, and cacti in Appendix II [which are supported by Resol. Conf. 
9.18 (Rev.)]), and will seek to assess whether the rest of the taxa are 
appropriately listed on the basis of the criteria in Resol. Conf. 9.24 
(adopted in 1994). In addition, the Parties at COP10 agreed to a review 
of all the timber tree species (see Decision 10.87). As part of the 
general review process, the Secretariat on December 19, 1997, in 
Notification No. 1009 advised the Parties that range States for the 
taxa under review may be contacted by co-ordinators mentioned therein 
for information and advice with regard to the assessment. The 
Secretariat, in consultation with the Chair of the Plants Committee 
(who is the general co-ordinator for the whole review), will extract a 
base of information on the tree species from a report due by April 1998 
and send it to the range States and relevant organizations, asking for 
their opinions (and the extracted summaries will be available from the 
Service on request). Preferably using the categories in Resol. Conf. 
9.24, the Service would appreciate receiving comments by the date due 
(see DATES section above) (including any additional comments soon after 
receiving the tree species synopses), on status or trade regarding 
those plant species or other taxa native to the United States and 
included in the CITES Appendices through 1983 (COP4) and the other 
native tree species, and is particularly interested in information that 
might warrant a change for any separately listed species or subspecies.
    Finally, the Service notes that it is discussing with State 
wildlife agency representatives the appropriateness of listing some 
native species in Appendix III. This possibility includes some species 
originally proposed for inclusion in Appendix II in June 1997 at COP10, 
which is the most recent regular meeting of the Conference of the 
Parties. Any preliminary decisions to include species in Appendix III 
would be announced and comments solicited in a Federal Register notice. 
Furthermore, any proposal to include species in Appendix III would be 

[[Page 4615]]

following the procedure outlined in Resol. Conf. 9.25 (copies available 
on request).

Future Actions

    The next regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP11) 
is expected to be held in November 1999 in Indonesia, and a tentative 
U.S. schedule has been developed to prepare for that meeting. Any 
proposals to amend Appendix I or II must be submitted by the United 
States to the CITES Secretariat 150 days prior to the start of COP11 
(i.e., in June 1999). In order to fully accommodate the schedule's 
deadlines, the Service plans to expand its discussions with the States 
comprising the United States. Therefore, the Service is initiating this 
request for status and trade information on species earlier than in 
past years, because it is seeking greater involvement of the State 
wildlife agencies in the review process. Thus, after this initial 
request for species to consider, the State animal and plant 
conservation agencies will be asked for specific status and management 
information on those native species that are being considered. After 
review of any information received, the Service may make some 
preliminary decisions and may seek assistance in developing more 
complete proposals during the summer and fall of 1998.
    The Service intends to publish a Federal Register notice in 
December 1998 to announce tentative species proposals to be submitted 
by the United States and to solicit further information and comments on 
them, as well as providing summary comment on information provided in 
response to this notice. In January 1999, a public meeting will be held 
to allow for additional input. All CITES Parties within the geographic 
range of species proposed for amendments to the Appendices will be 
consulted by March 1999, so that final proposals will have the benefit 
of their consideration and comments, in accord with Resol. Conf. 8.21. 
Another Federal Register notice in about June 1999 will announce the 
Service's final decisions and those species proposals submitted by the 
United States to the CITES Secretariat. The deadline for submission of 
the proposals to the Secretariat is expected to be in June 1999, as 
COP11 is currently being planned to take place in November 1999.
    Through a series of additional notices in advance of COP11, the 
Service will solicit recommendations for possible agenda items and 
resolutions designed to improve the implementation of the Convention, 
inform the public about preliminary and final negotiating positions on 
resolutions and amendments to the Appendices proposed by other Parties 
for consideration at COP11, and explain how observer status is obtained 
for non-governmental organizations that plan to attend. The Service 
will also publish announcements of public meetings expected to be held 
in January 1999 and August 1999, to receive public input on its 
positions regarding COP11 issues.
    Authors: This notice was prepared by Dr. Charles W. Dane and Dr. 
Bruce MacBryde, Office of Scientific Authority, under the authority of 
the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq., 87 Stat. 884, as amended).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 23

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, and Treaties.

    Dated: January 23, 1998.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
[FR Doc. 98-2388 Filed 1-29-98; 8:45 am]