Walt Jaap STP Walt.Jaap at
Thu Mar 23 12:14:42 EST 2000

Our experience [Tampa Bay] is that if an FWS inspector finds what he or she
thinks is in violation of CITES or other statutes, they will hold the shipment
and seek expert opinion.  We often are brought material or we go to the airport
or port warehouse to give an expert opinion.  In the case of Scleractinia, you
are dealing at the genus level, thus the nitty gritty conflicts at the species
level are not of concern.  

Recently there was a major intercept (two cargo containers filled with coral)
that was destined for the curio market. We verified the identification and
provided expert witness. The corals were mislabeled as shells and other marine
material. The case went to court and the individual is in jail and has a large
fine to pay.  

Over thirty years we have developed a good working relationship with the people
on the front line and it may be that the best approach is to provide a list of
experts in port and airport locations that can assist the USFWS in verifying
the materials they think may be in violation.  

We can also take an active role in working out the details in scientific permit
for corals.  A working group could assist in this effort.  In our area, they
are very willing to listen to ideas and seek advice.  We have taught workshops
for the inspectors and this is a great way to get to know the process.  A
little time spent is very well rewarded.

W.C. Jaap
Florida Marine Research Institute

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