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United States Fish And Wildlife Service To Release Information On Import Businesses

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has received Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for information related to the import and export of wildlife specimens and flora into and out of the United States contained in the Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS) database.  Information contained in LEMIS comes from data collected on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish and Wildlife (Form 3-177).  The USFWS is actively notifying potential businesses (submitters) who have submitted information on Form 3-177 to provide an opportunity to review the information subject to potential disclosure under the FOIA and object to such disclosure.

It’s worth stressing, the USFWS Notice indicates that the potential disclosure DOES NOT apply to individuals who import or export wildlife specimens or flora for personal use and personally (without a broker) file U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish and Wildlife (Form 3-177).  According to the USFWS,Exemption 7(C) of the FOIA protects information about individuals in “records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes” when disclosure of such information “could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”  Exemption 6 of the FOIA protects information about individuals in “personnel and medical files and similar files” when the disclosure of such information “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

The Notice ONLY applies to businesses (submitters) who import or export wildlife specimens and flora for business use OR on behalf of an individual (i.e. a broker) and file U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish and Wildlife (Form 3-177).  Submitters of this type of information can contact the USFWS to review records subject to possible release.  If you are a submitter of this information, you have a limited opportunity to object to the disclosure of such information.  The USFWS will presume that you do not object to the disclosure of your information if a response to the Notice is not received by June 11, 2021.  

If you, or someone you know, think the data released in this FOIA request might contain confidential or sensitive information about your business, please carefully read the USFWS Notice and object to the disclosure according to the instructions in the Notice.  If you have any questions, contact the USFWS as provided in the Notice.

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