New Search Tool Makes Fish and Wildlife Importing Easier

Date of Publication: September 7, 2021

When importing fish or wildlife into the United States, are importers required to have a permit? A tool from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) allows importers to search for the species they’re bringing into the country, making it easy and accessible for importers to determine if they need a permit.

The tool, which can be accessed here, asks users to input information such as:

  • Genus
  • Species and subspecies
  • Specific common name
  • Generic common name
  • USFWS species code

Once this information is inputted, the search tool helps importers determine if a permit is needed for bringing that specific fish or wildlife product into the United States. By using this tool, importers can ensure that they are following all U.S. laws and regulations, and that their importing process will not encounter any unexpected setbacks or delays.

When importing fish or wildlife products, importers should also be aware of regulations imposed by the Endangered Species Act. This act makes it unlawful to engage in commercial business as an importer or exporter of certain fish and wildlife without first obtaining permission from USFWS.

In some situations, the Endangered Species Act also requires importers and exporters to obtain a license prior to the shipment of their fish or wildlife products. A few examples of these situations include those where someone is importing or exporting wildlife in the form of:

  • Bags
  • Shoes and boots
  • Jewelry
  • Rugs
  • Hunting trophies
  • Certain forms of taxidermy
  • Circus exhibitions

In other situations, like when a fish or wildlife product is being imported for use in a public museum, public scientific institution, or educational institution for noncommercial purposes, a license may not be required.

While it can be time-consuming to determine when permits are required and if all regulations are being followed, tools like the USFWS’s species search help make the fish and wildlife importing process a bit simpler.

This content is intended for informational purposes. Due to the generality of this content, the provided information may not be applicable in all situations. We encourage the reader to review the most up-date-regulations directly with the U.S. government’s source on fish and wildlife, which can be found here.