(1) The prohibitions of section 9(a)(1) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538(a)(1)) relating to endangered species apply to elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (A. cervicornis) corals listed as threatened in § 223.102, except as provided in § 223.208(c).
(2) It is unlawful for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to do any of the following:
(i) Fail to comply immediately, in the manner specified at § 600.730 (b) through (d) of this title, with instructions and signals specified therein issued by an authorized officer, including instructions and signals to haul back a net for inspection;
(ii) Refuse to allow an authorized officer to board a vessel, or to enter an area where fish or wildlife may be found, for the purpose of conducting a boarding, search, inspection, seizure, investigation, or arrest in connection with enforcement of this section;
(iii) Destroy, stave, damage, or dispose of in any manner, fish or wildlife, gear, cargo, or any other matter after a communication or signal from an authorized officer, or upon the approach of such an officer or of an enforcement vessel or aircraft, before the officer has an opportunity to inspect same, or in contravention of directions from the officer;
(iv) Assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, threaten, obstruct, delay, prevent, or interfere with an authorized officer in the conduct of any boarding, search, inspection, seizure, investigation, or arrest in connection with enforcement of this section;
(v) Interfere with, delay, or prevent by any means, the apprehension of another person, knowing that such person committed an act prohibited by this section;
(vi) Resist a lawful arrest for an act prohibited by this section;
(vii) Make a false statement, oral or written, to an authorized officer or to the agency concerning applicability of the exceptions enumerated in paragraph (c) of this section relating to elkhorn and staghorn corals;
(viii) Make a false statement, oral or written, to an authorized officer or to the agency concerning the fishing for, catching, taking, harvesting, landing, purchasing, selling, or transferring fish or wildlife, or concerning any other matter subject to investigation under this section by such officer, or required to be submitted under this part 223; or
(ix) Attempt to do, solicit another to do, or cause to be done, any of the foregoing.
(b) Affirmative defense. In connection with any action alleging a violation of this section, any person claiming the benefit of any exception, exemption, or permit under this section has the burden of proving that the exception, exemption, or permit is applicable, was granted, and was valid and in force at the time of the alleged violation, and that the person fully complied with the exception, exemption, or permit.
(c) Exceptions. Exceptions to the prohibitions of section 9(a)(1) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538(a)(1)) applied in paragraph (a) of this section relating to elkhorn and staghorn corals are described in the following paragraphs (1) through (6):
(1) Permitted scientific research and enhancement. Any export or take of elkhorn or staghorn corals resulting from conducting scientific research or enhancement directed at elkhorn and staghorn corals is excepted from the prohibitions in ESA sections 9(a)(1)(A), (B) and (C) provided a valid research or enhancement permit has been obtained from one of the following Federal or state agencies: NOAA National Ocean Service National Marine Sanctuary Program, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, or the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources. The exportation or take must be in compliance with the applicable terms and conditions of the applicable research or enhancement permit, and the permit must be in the possession of the permittee while conducting the activity. Export of elkhorn or staghorn corals from the United States to conduct excepted research or enhancement activities requires a CITES export permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in addition to the research permit for collection. Import of elkhorn or staghorn corals into the United States to conduct excepted research or enhancement activities must be in compliance with the provisions of section 9(c) of the ESA.
(2) Restoration activities. Any agent or employee of governmental agencies listed in Table 1 may take listed elkhorn or staghorn corals without a permit, when acting in the course of conducting a restoration activity directed at elkhorn or staghorn coral which is authorized by an existing authority (see Table 1 to this section). Take of elkhorn or staghorn corals during such restoration activity is excepted from the prohibitions in ESA sections 9(a)(1)(B) and (C). An excepted restoration activity is defined as the methods and processes used to provide aid to injured individual elkhorn or staghorn coral.
(3) Section 10 scientific and enhancement permits. The Assistant Administrator may issue permits authorizing activities that would otherwise be prohibited under § 223.208(a) for scientific purposes or to enhance the propagation or survival of elkhorn or staghorn corals, in accordance with and subject to the conditions of part 222, subpart C-General Permit Procedures.
(4) Section 10 incidental take permits. The Assistant Administrator may issue permits authorizing activities that would otherwise be prohibited under § 223.208(a) in accordance with section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1539(a)(1)(B)), and in accordance with, and subject to the conditions of part 222 of this chapter. Such permits may be issued for the incidental taking of elkhorn and staghorn corals.
(5) Section 7 Interagency consultation. Any incidental taking that is in compliance with the terms and conditions specified in a written statement provided under section 7(b)(4)(C) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(4)(C)) shall not be considered a prohibited taking of elkhorn and staghorn corals pursuant to paragraph (o)(2) of section 7 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1536(o)(2)).
(6) Importation under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species. Any importation of elkhorn or staghorn corals in compliance with the provisions of section 9(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538(c)) shall not be considered a violation of any provision of the ESA or any regulation issued pursuant to the ESA.
|Agency/Person||Statute and Specific Provision(s)|
|NOAA, National Ocean Service (NOS)||National Marine Sanctuaries Act|
|16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.|
|NOAA, NOS||Coral Reef Conservation Act|
|16 U.S.C. 6406|
|Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Authorized representatives of States or Indian Tribes.||“Oil Pollution Act”
33 U.S.C. 2702
|Designated Federal, State or Indian tribal natural resources trustees, including NOAA, Department of Interior (DOI), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER), and U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR)||33 U.S.C. 2706|
|Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Commandant, USCG; Authorized representatives of States.||″Clean Water Act″
33 U.S.C. 1321
|Designated Federal, State or Indian tribal natural resources trustees, including NOAA, DOI, FDEP, DNER, and DPNR.|
|Administrator of the EPA; States or Indian Tribes in cooperative agreements with EPA; Heads of other Federal agencies where release is from vessel or facility solely under their control.||″Superfund Act″ (CERCLA)
42 U.S.C. 9604
|Administrator of the EPA||42 U.S.C. 9606|
|Designated Federal, State or Indian tribal natural resources trustees, including NOAA, DOI, FDEP, DNER, and DPNR||42 U.S.C. 9607|
|DOI, National Park Service (NPS)||Park System Resource Protection Act,
16 U.S.C. 19jj
16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee (National Wildlife Refuge System)
|DOI||National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act,
16 U.S.C. 668
|The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund||State Lands; Board of Trustees to Administer
FL Statute § 253.03
|Duty of Board to Protect, etc.
FL Statute. § 253.04
|Governor and Cabinet; FDEP||Land Acquisition for Conservation or Recreation; Conservation and Recreation Lands Trust Fund
FL Statute § 259.032
|FDEP||Pollutant Discharge Prevention and Removal; Liability for Damage to Natural Resources
FL Statute § 376.121
|FDEP||Land and Water Management; Coral Reef Restoration
FL Statute § 390.0558
|Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission||Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
FL Statute § 20.331
|U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS:|
|DPNR||DPNR; Powers and Duties of Department
3 V.I.C. § 401
|DPNR||Conservation; Croix East End Marine Park Established;
12 V.I.C. § 98
|DNER||Conservation; Protection, Conservation and Management of Coral Reefs
12 L.P.R.A. §§ 241-241g et seq.
|DNER||Conservation; Natural Patrimony Program
12 L.P.R.A. § 1225 et seq.
|DNER||Conservation; Natural Resources; Declarations of Marine Reserves (and other protected areas) containing elkhorn and staghorn corals
12 L.P.R.A.; Subtitle 6A; Chapter 252; §§ 5011 et seq.