[Federal Register: January 26, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 17)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 4217-4221]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 23

RIN 1018-AF69

Proposed Rule: Notice of Intent To Include Several Native U.S. 
Species in Appendix III to the Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

AGENCY:  Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:  Proposed rule.


SUMMARY:  The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species 
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international treaty, regulates 
international trade in certain animals and plants. Countries that have 
ratified or acceded to CITES monitor and regulate species listed in 
Appendices I, II, and III. Any country that is a Party to CITES may 
propose amendments to Appendix I or II for consideration by the other 
Parties; any country that is a Party may unilaterally list its native 
species in CITES Appendix III. Parties submit an Appendix III listing 
to the CITES Secretariat, which then notifies all CITES Party countries 
of this listing. With this proposed rule, we are announcing a proposal 
to include the Alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temminckii) and 
all species of map turtles (Graptemys sp.), native US species, in CITES 
Appendix III.

DATES:  You must send us your comments on this proposed rule by March 
13, 2000.

ADDRESSES:  You may send comments about this proposed rule to the 
Chief, Office of Scientific Authority; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 
750; Arlington, Virginia 22203. Fax number: 703-358-2276, E-mail: 
r9osa@fws.gov. Comments and other information received are available 
for public inspection, by appointment, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday 
through Friday, at the Arlington, Virginia, address. You may obtain 
information about permits by contacting the Office of Management 
Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 700, Arlington, Virginia 
22203; fax number: 703-358-2095, E-mail: r9ia__@fws.gov, website: 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Dr. Susan Lieberman, Chief, Office of 
Scientific Authority, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC, 
telephone: 703-358-1708, fax: 703-358-2276, E-mail: 



Appendix III Background

    CITES regulates import, export, re-export, and introduction from 
the sea of certain animal and plant species. CITES lists these species 
in one of three Appendices. Appendix I includes species threatened with 
extinction that are or may be affected by international trade. Appendix 
II includes species that, although not necessarily threatened with 
extinction now, may become so unless the trade is strictly controlled. 
It also lists species that CITES must regulate so that trade in other 
listed species may be brought under effective control (e.g., because of 
similarity of appearance between listed species and other species). 
Appendix III includes native species identified by any Party country 
that needs to be regulated to prevent or restrict exploitation and that 
requests the help of other Parties to monitor and control the trade of 
that species.
    To include a species in Appendices I or II, a Party country must 
propose an amendment to the Appendices for

[[Page 4218]]

consideration at a biennial meeting of the Conference of the Parties 
(COP). The adoption of such a proposal is by approval of at least two-
thirds of the Parties present and voting. A Party country makes the 
addition of a native species in Appendix III, however, independently, 
without the vote of other Parties, under Articles II and XVI of the 
CITES treaty. As described below, Appendix III listings have many 
advantages, and many species are currently listed in CITES Appendix 
III. A list of all species included in the three Appendices is 
presented in 50 CFR Part 23 and is also available on request from us 
(see ADDRESSES, above). A list of the species and the text of the CITES 
treaty are also available from the Fish and Wildlife Service website 
at: http://www.fws.gov. We propose to include native U.S. species in 
Appendix III to derive the following benefits:
    1. Appendix III listings are based on an individual country's 
decision that its domestic conservation program for its own species 
involved in international trade requires the assistance of the other 
CITES Parties through the enforcement of CITES trade restrictions. 
Since the decision on Appendix-III listing is made by an individual 
country, no vote of the CITES Parties is required, as would be 
necessary for Appendix-I and -II listing actions. The effect of this 
independent listing is that, if an Appendix-III species' situation 
improves or new information shows that it no longer needs to be listed, 
the listing country can remove the species from the list without 
consulting the other CITES parties. Therefore, the United States could 
remove a species it listed on Appendix III without requiring a vote of 
the CITES Parties, or even without waiting for a meeting of the CITES 
Conference of the Parties.
    2. Listing U.S. native species in Appendix III would in appropriate 
cases enhance the enforcement of State and Federal conservation 
measures enacted for the species in international (and domestic) trade. 
When a shipment containing a non-listed, native species is exported 
from the United States, it is a lower inspection priority for both an 
importing country and the Service than if the shipment contained CITES-
listed species. When CITES-listed species, including Appendix-III 
species, are exported, the shipment is inspected and monitored both at 
the port of departure and the port of arrival in the importing country. 
Furthermore, many foreign importing countries have limited legal 
authority and resources to inspect shipments of non-CITES-listed 
wildlife. Appendix-III listings for U.S. species will give these 
foreign importing countries the legal basis and priority obligation to 
inspect such shipments, and deal with CITES and national violations 
when they detect them.
    3. The practical outcome of listing a species in Appendix III is 
that records are kept and trade in the species is monitored. We will 
gain and share new information on the trade with State fish and 
wildlife agencies, interjurisdictional fisheries commissions, and 
others who have jurisdiction over resident populations of this species. 
They will then be able to better determine the impact of the trade on 
resident species and the effectiveness of existing State management 
activities, regulations, and cooperative efforts.
    4. When we list a U.S. native species on CITES Appendix III, a 
CITES Party is required to deny the export of a specimen of that 
species if it originated in the United States and was acquired or taken 
in violation of the laws of the United States. Closer inspection by 
importing countries helps to protect U.S. native Appendix-III species 
from illegal trade and reinforces U.S. Federal and State laws, 
particularly since a CITES Appendix-III export permit is issued only 
after we have made a legal acquisition finding.
    5. When any live CITES-listed species (including Appendix-III) is 
exported (or imported), it must be packed and shipped according to the 
International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulations 
to reduce the risk of injury and cruel treatment. This requirement 
helps to ensure the survival of the animals while they are in 
transport. All of the species proposed for listing in Appendix III by 
the Service through this notice are traded as live animals (although 
some trade in alligator snapping turtle meat also occurs).
    6. By listing a species in Appendix III, international trade data 
and other relevant information can be gathered to help policy makers 
determine whether we should propose the species for addition to 
Appendix II, remove it from Appendix III, or retain it in Appendix III.
    7. Since many States regulate commercial trade in a number of 
wildlife species, data gathering on Appendix-III species, through 
international import/export control and permit issuance, will help to 
control illegal wildlife harvest and trade within the United States.

Criteria for Listing a Native U.S. Species in Appendix III

    Article II, paragraph 3, of the CITES treaty states that ``Appendix 
III shall include all species which any Party identifies as being 
subject to regulation within its jurisdiction for the purpose of 
preventing or restricting exploitation, and as needing the cooperation 
of other parties in the control of trade.'' Article XVI, paragraph 1, 
of the treaty states further that ``Any party may at any time submit to 
the Secretariat a list of species which it identifies as being subject 
to regulation within its jurisdiction for the purpose mentioned in 
paragraph 3 of Article II. Appendix III shall include the names of the 
Parties submitting the species for inclusion therein, the scientific 
names of the species so submitted, and any parts or derivatives of the 
animals or plants concerned that are specified in relation to the 
species for the purposes of subparagraph (b) of Article I.'' At the 
ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (COP9), held in 
the United States in 1992, the Parties adopted Resolution Conf. 9.25, 
which provides further guidance to Parties for the listing of their 
native species in Appendix III. The Resolution recommends that: ``A 
Party (a) Ensure that (i) The species is native to its country; (ii) 
Its national regulations are adequate to prevent or restrict 
exploitation and to control trade, for the conservation of the species, 
and include penalties for illegal taking, trade or possession and 
provisions for confiscation; and (iii) Its national enforcement 
measures are adequate to implement these regulations; and (b) Determine 
that, notwithstanding these regulations and measures, there are 
indications that the cooperation of the Parties is needed to control 
illegal trade; and (c) Inform the Management Authorities of other range 
States, the known major importing countries, the Secretariat and the 
Animals Committee or the Plants Committee that it is considering the 
inclusion of the species in Appendix III and seek their opinion on the 
potential effects of such inclusion.'' Therefore, we have used the 
following criteria in deciding to propose listing these U.S. species in 
Appendix III, and we will use these criteria for future proposed 
    1. The species must be native to the United States. Although the 
species do not have to be endemic to the United States, a significant 
portion of their range should be in the United States.
    2. The species must be subject to regulation within the United 
States, at either the State or Federal level. At least one State and 
preferably more than one (if found in more than one State) should have 
laws or regulations to control the take, trade, or possession of the 
    3. The species must be subject to international trade. We should 
also have some evidence that illegal trade

[[Page 4219]]

(violating Federal or State laws or regulations) is occurring. The 
supporting evidence can be extensive, documented, or even anecdotal 
(although if so it must be verifiable).
    4. Significant evidence that international or domestic trade in the 
species may not be occurring at sustainable levels does not have to 
exist, although such information is important. However, a need must 
exist to monitor international trade in the species and have the 
assistance of importing countries to identify and possibly confiscate 
shipments illegally exported from the United States.
    5. The Treaty does not allow the exclusion of particular parts or 
products for any species listed in Appendix I or the exclusion of parts 
or products of animal species in Appendix II. Article XVI of the 
treaty, however, allows for either all specimens of a species or only 
certain identifiable parts or products of a specimen to be listed in 
Appendix III. For example, the current listing in CITES Appendix III of 
Swietenia macrophylla (bigleaf mahogany) by Bolivia, Brazil, Costa 
Rica, and Mexico includes only logs, sawn wood, and veneer sheets. 
Therefore, if the criteria listed above are met, we could list any 
designated parts, products, or life stages of a species in Appendix 
III, if we inform the CITES Secretariat of the limited listing.

Submission of Information to the CITES Secretariat

    Besides this proposed rule, we will consult with any other range 
countries where the species being considered for Appendix III can also 
be found. For this listing, we will consult Canada regarding Graptemys 
geographica. After reviewing the results of these consultations and the 
information submitted in response to this proposed rule, we will decide 
whether to include these species in CITES Appendix III. We will publish 
that information in the Federal Register and notify the public of our 
decision on whether we will submit these species to the CITES 
Secretariat for inclusion in Appendix III. Upon notifying the 
Secretariat, the listing will take effect 90 days after the CITES 
Secretariat informs the CITES Parties of the listing.

Change in Status of Appendix III Species Based on New Information

    We will monitor the trade of any U.S. Appendix-III species. If 
either of the following occurs, we will consider removing the species 
from Appendix III: (1) International trade in the species is very 
limited (fewer than 5 shipments per year or fewer than 100 individual 
animals or plants); or (2) Trade (legal and illegal) in the species 
(either internationally or in interstate commerce) is determined, after 
consulting with the States, not to be a concern.
    If, after monitoring the trade of any U.S. Appendix-III species and 
evaluating its status in the wild, we determine that the species meets 
the CITES criteria for listing in Appendix II, based on Resolution 
Conf. 9.24, Annex 2a or 2b, we could consider proposing listing the 
species in Appendix II. Based on those criteria, the species would 
qualify for Appendix II if ``It is known, inferred or projected that 
the harvesting of specimens from the wild for international trade has, 
or may have, a detrimental impact on the species by either: (i) 
Exceeding, over an extended period, the level that can be continued in 
perpetuity; or (ii) Reducing it to a population level at which its 
survival would be threatened by other influences.'' The species would 
also qualify for listing in Appendix II if ``The specimens resemble 
specimens of a species included in Appendix II under the provisions of 
Article II, paragraph 2(a), or in Appendix I, such that a non-expert, 
with reasonable effort, is unlikely to be able to distinguish between 

Practical Effects of Listing a Native U.S. Species in Appendix III

    Permits and other requirements: The export of an Appendix-III 
species requires that before specimen(s) leave the country, the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service's Office of Management Authority (OMA) must 
issue an export permit and the exporter must declare the export to our 
Office of Law Enforcement (LE). The requirement to declare a shipment 
to LE and comply with applicable regulations for wildlife exports is 
not changed by the CITES listing. OMA can issue a permit only if the 
applicant obtained the specimen(s) legally, without violating any 
applicable U.S. laws, including relevant State wildlife laws and 
regulations, and the live specimens are packed and shipped according to 
the IATA Live Animals Regulations to reduce the risk of injury and 
cruel treatment. No scientific non-detriment finding is required by the 
Service's Office of Scientific Authority (OSA). However, OMA, in 
determining if the applicant legally obtained the specimens, is 
required to consult relevant State agencies. Since the conservation and 
management of these species is under the jurisdiction of State 
agencies, it is their responsibility to decide if shipments follow 
State laws and regulations. OSA will monitor and evaluate the trade, to 
decide if there is a conservation concern that would require any 
further Federal action on our part.
    Process, Findings, and Fees: To apply for a CITES permit, an 
applicant is required to furnish to OMA a completed CITES export permit 
application with a $25 check or money order to cover the cost of 
processing the application. You may obtain information about CITES 
permits from our website or from OMA (see: ADDRESSES, above). We will 
review the application to decide if the export meets the following 
criteria: (a) You did not obtain the specimen in violation of any U.S. 
Federal or State laws. You must provide documentation showing that you 
legally obtained the specimen. The applicant is often required to have 
a State license or permit to engage in certain activities with native 
species. When applying to OMA for a permit, an applicant is required to 
furnish copies of any license or permit. OMA will also contact the 
relevant U.S. States to verify the legality of collecting and 
possessing this particular native species. (b) As required by CITES, 
live animals must be shipped to reduce the risk of injury, damage to 
health, or cruel treatment. We carry out this CITES treaty requirement 
(and applicable CITES resolutions) by stating clearly on all CITES 
permits that shipments must comply with the IATA Live Animals 
Regulations. The LE Wildlife Inspectors are authorized to inspect 
shipments of CITES-listed species during export to ensure that the 
shipment complies with these regulations. Additional information on 
permit requirements is available from the OMA; additional information 
on declaration of shipments, inspection, and clearance of shipments is 
available on request from the Office of Law Enforcement.

Species Proposed for Listing in Appendix III

    We propose to list the following species in CITES Appendix III:
1. Macroclemys temminckii (Alligator Snapping Turtle)
    Macroclemys temminckii is found in the following States: Alabama, 
Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, 
Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. It is confined 
to river systems that drain into the Gulf of Mexico. It is widely 
distributed in the Mississippi Valley from as far north as Kansas, 
Illinois, and Indiana to the Gulf. The species has been found in most 
river systems from the Suwanee River, Florida, to eastern Texas. M. 
temminckii is the largest freshwater turtle in North

[[Page 4220]]

America. Adults are usually found in deeper water of large rivers and 
their major tributaries and are also found in lakes, canals, oxbows, 
swamps, ponds, and bayous associated with river systems. Management and 
regulation in the States are quite varied, and include, among others: 
Prohibitions on all take from the wild; prohibitions on all commercial 
take from the wild; inclusion on State lists of endangered and 
threatened wildlife; prohibitions on all possession, buying, selling, 
sale, transport, or export; and closed seasons.
    The species does not breed until 11-13 years and lays one clutch of 
9-52 eggs/year. The species has declined throughout its range (mainly 
the Mississippi River drainage and other river systems in the 
Southeast), due particularly to loss of bottomland hardwood forests, 
but also extensive collection for personal consumption and commercial 
marketing of meat. Because of the species life history, collection of 
breeding adults can quickly become unsustainable. Intensive collecting 
has severely depleted local populations and altered demographic 
structure in others, such as in southern Louisiana. The species is 
considered threatened in much of the northern part of its range and has 
been considered for candidate status under the Endangered Species Act 
(ESA). IUCN (the World Conservation Union) classifies M. temminckii as 
``vulnerable'' (a species that will likely move into the ``endangered'' 
category in the future, if the factors leading to its endangerment 
continue operating). Although commercial use is prohibited in most 
States other than Louisiana (which allows wild-capture) and Mississippi 
(farm-hatched only), people can take the species for personal use in 
most States, and there is almost no management of the species by State 
agencies. Anecdotal information from turtle trappers shows that M. 
temminckii has declined drastically throughout its range, due to over-
collection and habitat loss.
    Small specimens of M. temminckii are used for the domestic pet 
trade, and the larger specimens are traded as meat for human 
consumption. Some hatchlings offered by dealers are said to have been 
``captive-bred,'' although these are likely to have been hatched from 
eggs collected from nests in the wild. Larger specimens, costing as 
much as $750 each or $1,100 per pair, are less commonly offered in the 
pet trade. To supply most of the hatchling turtles, more than 1,000 
female turtles are held in live ponds until June, when their eggs are 
fertile and are laid. The turtles are then butchered for their meat, 
and the eggs are artificially hatched. The M. temminckii meat trade is 
much larger than the pet trade.
    Analysis of import/export data obtained from the Office of Law 
Enforcement showed that live M. temminckii have been exported in 
increasing numbers in recent years. The annual exports of live 
specimens have increased from 290 in 1989, to 4,447 in 1994. We also 
know that illegal trade occurs. The export figures from 1989-1994 
reveal that international trade in M. temminckii primarily for human 
consumption and as pets increased dramatically during the 6-year 
period. Besides international trade, a significant domestic trade 
reportedly exists.
    The Chelonian Advisory Group (CAG) to the American Association of 
Zoological Parks and Aquariums recommended that M. temminckii become a 
high priority for future conservation efforts. The CAG reported to the 
Captive Breeding Specialist Group of the IUCN that this species was one 
of three North American turtles most in need of management.
    The United States submitted a proposal to CITES COP10 in Zimbabwe 
(June 1997) to include the species in CITES Appendix II. The proposal 
was withdrawn after some countries expressed the view that 
international trade is small and conservation problems for the species 
should be dealt with through domestic measures. The State of Louisiana 
also opposed the proposal then. Many countries at the COP suggested 
that, for an endemic species such as this, inclusion in Appendix III 
would be preferable.
2. Graptemys spp.: All 12 Species of Map Turtles
    The 12 Graptemys species (see Table below) are endemic to the 
United States, except G. geographica, which ranges into southern 
Quebec. Most species have fairly restricted ranges in various drainages 
in the southeastern United States. Three species, G. geographica, G. 
pseudogeographica (= kohnii), and G. ouachitensis, are widespread and 
locally common (the Mississippi and Missouri River drainages). G. 
pseudogeographica and G. ouachitensis probably account for most of the 
trade. Populations of most species have declined because of habitat 
degradation. Two species (G. flavimaculata, G. oculifera) are listed as 
threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act and endangered by 
the State of Mississippi. A third species (G. nigrinoda) is also listed 
as endangered by the State of Mississippi. Reproductive potential is 
moderate: 20-30 eggs total in several clutches. Overall, the more 
restricted species in the Southeast may have lower reproductive 

              Scientific name                        Common name
Graptemys barbouri........................  Barbour's map turtle.
Graptemys caglei..........................  Cagle's map turtle.
Graptemys ernsti..........................  Escambia map turtle.
Graptemys flavimaculata...................  Yellow-blotched map turtle.
Graptemys gibbonsi........................  Pascagoula map turtle.
Graptemys nigrinoda.......................  Black-knobbed map turtle.
Graptemys oculifera.......................  Ringed map turtle.
Graptemys pulchra.........................  Alabama map turtle.
Graptemys versa...........................  Texas map turtle.
Graptemys geographica.....................  Common map turtle.
Graptemys ouachitensis....................  Ouachita map turtle.
Graptemys pseudogeographica...............  False map turtle.

    Hatchlings of many of the map turtle species are popular in the pet 
trade because of their bright colors. Turtle farmers in recent years in 
the Southeast have apparently achieved considerable success with 
captive-breeding operations, but we believe all such operations draw 
upon the wild to replace breeding stock. The degree of wild harvest is 
unknown but could be very substantial. Many species of Graptemys are 
also eaten, but it is not known if much meat is handled commercially. 
Export numbers have risen dramatically, from 8,600 in 1991 to 37,000 in 
1993 and probably more than 100,000 in 1995. More recent data are not 
readily available. The majority of these may represent farm-raised 
animals that may or may not been taken directly from the wild.
    The United States submitted a proposal to CITES COP10 in 1997 to 
include nine species of map turtles in Appendix II (and to leave as 
unlisted the three more common species). Prior to that meeting, most 
but not all range States supported that proposal. The proposal obtained 
the majority of votes, but was not adopted since it missed the 
necessary two-thirds majority by one vote, with 37 for and 19 against. 
We believe that including the whole genus (the nine rarer species and 
the three more heavily traded species) in Appendix III is preferable, 
to both adequately monitor trade and obtain the advantages of Appendix 
III listings.

Required Determinations

    The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed this document 
under Executive Order 12866.
    The Department of the Interior certifies that this document will 
not have a significant effect on a substantial number of small entities 
under the

[[Page 4221]]

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). This proposed rule 
establishes the means to monitor the international trade in several 
native U.S. species and does not impose any new or changed restriction 
on the trade of legally acquired specimens. Based on current exports of 
these species, we estimate that the costs to implement this rule will 
be less than $2,000,000 annually due to the costs associated with 
obtaining permits. Similarly, this proposed rule is not a major rule 
under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act. This rule:
    a. Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or 
    b. Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions.
    c. Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.
    This proposed rule does not impose an unfunded mandate of more than 
$100 million per year or have a significant or unique effect on State, 
local, or tribal governments or the private sector because we, as the 
lead agency for CITES implementation in the United States, are 
responsible for the authorization of shipments of live wildlife, or 
their parts and products, that are subject to the requirements of 
    Under Executive Order 12630, this proposed rule does not have 
significant takings implications since there are no changes in what may 
be exported. The permit requirement will not alter the current criteria 
for exports of these specimens.
    Under Executive Order 13132, this proposed rule does not have 
sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
federalism assessment because it will not have a substantial direct 
effect on the States, on the relationship between the Federal 
Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government. Although this 
proposed rule will generate information that will be beneficial to 
State wildlife agencies, it is not anticipated that any State 
monitoring or control programs will need to be developed to fulfill the 
purpose of this proposed rule. We have consulted the States, through 
the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, on this 
proposed action.
    Under Executive Order 12988, the Office of the Solicitor has 
determined that this proposed rule does not unduly burden the judicial 
system and meets the requirements of Sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the 
    This proposed rule does not contain new or revised information 
collection for which Office of Management and Budget approval is 
required under the Paperwork Reduction Act. The referenced information 
collection is covered by an existing OMB approval and has been assigned 
clearance No. 1018-0093, Form 3-200-27, with an expiration date of 
January 31, 2001; implementing regulations for the CITES documentation 
appear at 50 CFR 23. We may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not 
required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays 
a currently valid OMB control number.
    This proposed rule does not constitute a major Federal action 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The 
action is categorically excluded under 516 DM 2, Appendix 1.10 in the 
Departmental Manual. A detailed statement under the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is not required.
    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write regulations 
that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to make 
this proposed rule easier to understand, including answers to questions 
such as the following: (1) Are the requirements in the proposed rule 
clearly stated? (2) Does the proposed rule contain technical language 
that interferes with its clarity? What else could we do to make this 
proposed rule easier to understand? (3) Does the format of the proposed 
rule (grouping and order of the sections, use of headings, 
paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce its clarity? (4) Is the description 
of the regulation in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of the 
preamble helpful in understanding the regulation?
    EO 12866 provides for a 60-day comment period as a general 
practice. But, in this case, we believe that a 60-day comment period is 
unnecessary for the following reasons: (1) Since the proposed listings 
included species that were previously proposed for listing in Appendix 
II at the last COP, the Service has received substantial comments in 
the past, and (2) The Service has had preliminary discussions with 
various State wildlife agencies regarding the proposed listings. In 
addition, we believe that the listing of these species on Appendix III 
should correspond closely with the next COP, which will be held in 
April 2000.
    Authors: This proposed rule was prepared by Dr. Susan Lieberman and 
Timothy VanNorman, Office of Scientific Authority, under authority of 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).
    This proposed rule, if adopted, would result in a final decision 
that would amend 50 CFR 23.23 by adding Alligator snapping turtle 
(Macroclemys temminckii) and all species of map turtles (Graptemys sp.) 
to Appendix III of CITES for the United States. After analysis of the 
comments on the proposed rule, we will publish our decision in the 
Federal Register. If adopted, we would submit the additions to the 
CITES Secretariat, who has 90 days for inclusion in Appendix III and 
formal notification to the CITES Party countries. Therefore, the 
effective date for implementing the amendment to 50 CFR 23 would be 90 
days from publishing the final rule. However, we will contact the 
Secretariat prior to publishing the final rule, if adopted, to clarify 
the exact time period required by the Secretariat to implement the 

    Dated: December 21, 1999.
Donald J. Barry,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 00-1790 Filed 1-25-00; 8:45 am]