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Nonnative Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay
Many interested parties find it surprising that under the current framework, depending on the methods used for intentionally introducing a nonnative species, including C. ariakensis, no federal regulatory approval is required. Corps approval is required only if the introduction involves in-water structures or fill; even in the latter situation, Corps general and regional permits may eliminate the need for a complete regulatory review of the proposed introduction. Further study is required to determine whether nonnative introductions should be comprehensively regulated at the federal level through, for example, statutory amendments instituting a “clean list” approach under the Lacey Act. The pending reauthorization by the 108th Congress of the federal Invasive Species Act could provide a forum for discussion of this and related changes in federal law to provide a better-coordinated and better-focused approach to intentional introductions at the federal level.
These discussions appropriately could be extended to U.S. implementation of the various international agreements regarding intentional introductions policy and procedures, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, its Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety, and draft Guiding Principles on Intentional Introductions; the ICES Convention and its code of practice regarding the transfers of natives and introductions of nonnatives; NMFS, FAO, and other aquaculture codes; UNCLOS Article 196, that requires nations that are party to the convention to control intentional introductions of nonnative species that may cause significant and harmful changes to the marine environment; and relevant WTO and OIE agreements regarding imports of nonnative species to the United States.