permits

Linda Ward WARD.LINDA at nmnh.si.edu
Wed Apr 15 13:24:20 EST 1998


     It sure is nice to know that three of the world's major
museums are willing to accept illegally collected and/or
exported material. 

     Sergio the problem with depositing material at the
Smithsonian has nothing to do with bilateral aggreements! 
We are bound by a US law called the "Lacey Act" which
essentially says that US organizations and citizens will
uphold the import/export laws of "ALL" nations.  In other
words we will not facilitate people in their efforts to avoid
THEIR COUNTRIES LAWS!!!  It is because of Mexico's
relatively new requirements for permits that requires us to
have these papers with specimens arriving on our door step. 
Some of us at the museum were under the impression that
the Smithsonian had a blanket permit that allowed us to
accept the non-cites material for deposit/loan etc. without
breaking the Lacey Act but we have since been informed that
this was not the case and US Fish & Wildlife has been
monitoring material coming to us.

     We do our best to comply with the regulations and we
seem to find out about new regulations only when we send in
our routine paperwork to USFW and they come back and
ask us "where is the export permit?" 

     Australia has had some really tough loans for many years
now and they seem to coe quite nicely. If you have ever
received a loan from the Australian Museum the export
permit is in fact attached to the outside of the package and
just looks like a customs sticker. This would be missing from
the package if it is just shipped from the local post office and
requires the sender to go on bended knee to the museum to
see if they can get the permit - It's Australian Law not US law
that requires this export permit.

     Anyone who has donated material to our department in
the last 4-5 years has been asked to sign a "Deed of Gift"
which states that they collected the material legally and had
all the necessary permits.   We take your word for it.  For
countries that we know require export permits and/or
deposition of holotypes in their museums we won't process
material without the permits and we won't process holotypes
at all.  If this extra paperwork has resulted in people not
depositing their material here - fine - none of us are willing to
lose our jobs over a few "paperless" worms!  I agree that all
this seems a bit silly when you are talking non-endangered
worms but that's the way it is.

   Linda

(By the way these are my interpretations of the law and my
opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of my
employer.)

Linda Ward <WARD.LINDA at NMNH.SI.EDU>

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