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115th Congress    }                                {    Rept. 115-1089
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                {            Part 1

======================================================================



 
                  MEASURES TO COMBAT INVASIVE LIONFISH

                                _______
                                

               December 20, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 6255]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 6255) to amend title 18, United States Code, to 
establish measures to combat invasive lionfish, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 6255 is to amend title 18, United 
States Code, to establish measures to combat invasive lionfish.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. 3371 et seq.; also 18 U.S.C. 42) 
makes it unlawful to import, export, sell, acquire, or purchase 
fish, wildlife or plants that are taken, possessed, 
transported, or sold in violation of federal, State, tribal or 
foreign law or treaty.\1\ Congress originally enacted this law 
in response to concerns over the health of native species and 
competition from nonnative species.\2\ The Act authorized the 
Secretary of Agriculture to reintroduce or bolster native 
``game, song, and insectivorous birds'' to the benefit of U.S. 
agriculture.\3\ The Act also authorized the Secretary of 
Agriculture to prevent the introduction of foreign wildlife.\4\ 
Finally, the Act sought to supplement State laws for the 
protection of game and birds, by preventing wildlife 
traffickers from harvesting species illegally in one State and 
transporting them for sale in States where similar prohibitions 
did not exist.\5\ A statutory list of injurious species banned 
from being imported and from certain types of interstate 
transportation is found at 18 U.S.C. 42.
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    \1\https://www.fws.gov/international/laws-treaties-agreements/us-
conservation-laws/lacey-act.html.
    \2\Act of May 25, 1900, 1, 31 Stat. 188.
    \3\H. Rep. No. 56-474, at 1 (1900).
    \4\Id. at 2.
    \5\Id.
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    Congress approved significant amendments to the Lacey Act 
in 1969, 1981, 1988 and 2008, among numerous smaller amendments 
made since the law's enactment.\6\ The 1969 amendments expanded 
the Act to include amphibians, reptiles, mollusks and 
crustaceans.\7\ The 1981 amendments were more comprehensive in 
nature and focused on increasing civil and criminal penalties 
while lowering the threshold for an individual's knowledge of 
wrongdoing required for convictions under the Act.\8\ The 1988 
amendment made prohibitions on wildlife sold in violation of 
federal, tribal, State or foreign laws uniform throughout the 
law.\9\ This amendment further strengthened prohibitions and 
penalties on mislabeling shipments of fish, wildlife, and 
plants.\10\ The 2008 amendment extended the Act's prohibitions 
to cover nonnative plants and violations of foreign law. This 
significant expansion imposed broad compliance requirements for 
importers covering virtually all global plant species, in the 
name of curbing international illegal logging.\11\ The 
Departments of the Interior, Commerce, and Agriculture, acting 
through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine 
Fisheries Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service, respectively, enforce the Lacey Act in its current 
form.\12\
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    \6\https://www.animallaw.info/article/overview-lacey-act-16-usc-ss-
3371-3378.
    \7\S. Rep. No. 91-526, at 1(1969).
    \8\Anderson, R.S. (1995), The Lacey Act: America's Premier Weapon 
in the Fight Against Unlawful Wildlife Trafficking (16 Pub. Land L. 
Rev. 27), at 50.
    \9\Id. at 52.
    \10\Id. at 52-53.
    \11\H. Rep. 110-627 at 893.
    \12\Anderson, R.S. (1995), The Lacey Act: America's Premier Weapon 
in the Fight Against Unlawful Wildlife Trafficking (16 Pub. Land L. 
Rev. 27), at 54.
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    Lionfish is a type of carnivorous fish native to the South 
Pacific and Indian Oceans.\13\ Lionfish thrive in warm waters 
of the tropics and in a variety of habitats. According to the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 
lionfish were spread to the Atlantic via the aquarium trade and 
were likely released into the wild voluntarily.\14\ Lionfish 
are voracious and reproduce year-round in high volumes; as such 
lionfish have come to dominate many ecosystems across the South 
Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.\15\
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    \13\NOAA, What is a lionfish?, Official website of the National 
Ocean Service, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/lionfish-facts.html.
    \14\NOAA, Lionfish Invasion! Lionfish Invade U.S. Waters, Official 
website of the National Ocean Service, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/
education/stories/lionfish/lion02_invade.html.
    \15\Id.
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    Invasive species cost the U.S. economy an estimated $137 
billion annually.\16\ According to NOAA, the first evidence of 
established lionfish populations in the Atlantic came in 2002 
from a specimen retrieved by divers off the coast of North 
Carolina;\17\ however, there were sightings off Florida as 
early as the 1980s.\18\ In a 2012 study, researchers found 
that, as of 2010, lionfish represented approximately 40% of the 
total predator biomass throughout their survey range in reefs 
off the coast of the Bahamas.\19\ In Atlantic waters, lionfish 
have almost no natural predators, but feed on a variety of fish 
and crustaceans, including commercially valuable species such 
as snapper and grouper.\20\ It is unclear to what degree 
lionfish abundance adversely impacts abundance of native prey 
species.\21\ Lionfish can also have indirect ecological 
impacts: they prey on herbivorous parrotfish which, if 
unchecked, can increase nuisance vegetation in reefs.\22\
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    \16\Morris, J.A., Jr., and P.E. Whitfield. 2009. Biology, Ecology, 
Control and Management of the Invasive Indo-Pacific Lionfish: An 
Updated Integrated Assessment. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 
99.57 at 1 http://aquaticcommons.org/2847/1/NCCOS_TM_99.pdf.
    \17\NOAA, Lionfish Invade! Lionfish Invade U.S. Waters, Official 
Website of the National Ocean Service, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/
education/stories/lionfish/lion02_invade.html.
    \18\Morris, J.A., Jr., and P.E. Whitfield. 2009. Biology, Ecology, 
Control and Management of the Invasive Indo-Pacific Lionfish: An 
Updated Integrated Assessment. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 99. 
57 pp, at i http://aquaticcommons.org/2847/1/NCCOS_TM_99.pdf.
    \19\Green, S. J., Akins, J. L., Maljkovic, A., & Cote, I. M. 
(2012). Invasive Lionfish Drive Atlantic Coral Reef Fish Declines. PLoS 
ONE,7(3). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032596.
    \20\NOAA, What is a turkeyfish?, Official website of the National 
Ocean Service, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/turkeyfish.html.
    \21\Hackerott, S., Valdivia, A., Cox, C. E., Silbiger, N. J., & 
Bruno, J. F. (2017). Invasive lionfish had no measurable effect on prey 
fish community structure across the Belizean Barrier Reef. PeerJ,5. 
doi:10.7717/peerj.3270.
    \22\NOAA, What is a lionfish?, Official website of the National 
Ocean Service, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/lionfish-facts.html.
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    Gulf States have taken the lead on lionfish control. 
Florida organizes an annual competition where the State rewards 
participants for harvesting certain amounts of lionfish with 
increasing rewards for more.\23\ In 2014, Florida became the 
first State to ban the importation of live lionfish while 
simultaneously loosening fishing restrictions.\24\ Creating and 
boosting demand for lionfish as food is the centerpiece and 
most promising of the control efforts.\25\
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    \23\Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Lionfish 
Challenge 2018, Official Website of Florida FWCC, http://myfwc.com/
fishing/saltwater/recreational/lionfish/challenge/.
    \24\Pillion, D. (2014, June 18). Florida bans importing live 
lionfish in aquarium trade, allows more spearfishing to combat invasive 
species. Retrieved from https://www.al.com/news/beaches/index.ssf/2014/
06/florida_bans_importing_live_li.html.
    \25\Shemkus, S. (2016, April 11). Eat an Invasive Species for 
Dinner. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/
2016/04/invasive-lionfish/477570/.
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    In response to fears over the further spread of lionfish 
throughout the U.S. marine environment, Congressman Darren Soto 
introduced H.R. 6255, which would add several species of 
lionfish to the injurious species list codified at 18 U.S.C. 
42.\26\ In an effort to preserve control efforts focused on 
markets for lionfish products, this legislation provides an 
exemption with respect to importation and exportation permits 
for certain lionfish seafood products.
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    \26\H.R. 6255, 115th Cong. (2018), available at https://
www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/6255.
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    H.R. 6255 would have the United States follow the example 
of Florida and ban the importation and some domestic 
transportation of lionfish. The conservation benefits of 
enacting this legislation are unclear, and there may be 
unintended consequences this bill would have on efforts to 
create markets for lionfish products. Potential unintended 
consequences notwithstanding, this legislation is a good-faith 
attempt to address a serious challenge for coastal communities 
in Florida and across the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 6255 was introduced on June 27, 2018, by Congressman 
Darren Soto (D-FL). The bill was referred primarily to the 
Committee on the Judiciary and additionally to the Committee on 
Natural Resources. Within the Natural Resources Committee, the 
bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Water, Power and 
Oceans. On September 26, 2018, the Natural Resources Committee 
met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee was discharged by 
unanimous consent. No amendments were offered, and the bill was 
ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives by 
unanimous consent.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

      Compliance With House Rule XIII and Congressional Budget Act

    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                 Washington, DC, December 19, 2018.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 6255, a bill to 
amend title 18, United States Code, to establish measures to 
combat invasive lionfish, and for other purposes.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Robert Reese.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 6255--A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to establish 
        measures to combat invasive lionfish, and for other purposes

    H.R. 6255 would amend the Lacey Act to prohibit the 
importation of 11 species of live lionfish. The bill also would 
restrict domestic transportation of those species. Using 
information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, CBO estimates that the cost of implementing 
H.R. 6255 would not be significant in any year.
    Because people convicted of importing lionfish under H.R. 
6255 could be subject to criminal fines, the federal government 
might collect additional fines under the bill. Criminal fines 
are recorded as revenues, deposited in the Crime Victims Fund, 
and later spent without further appropriation action. CBO 
expects that any additional revenues and direct spending would 
not be significant because the bill would probably affect only 
a small number of cases.
    Because enacting H.R. 6255 could affect direct spending and 
revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO 
estimates that the bill's net effect on the deficit would be 
negligible.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 6255 would not 
significantly increase net direct spending and would not 
increase on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-
year periods beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 6255 would impose a private-sector mandate as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) by prohibiting live 
lionfish from being imported into and transported within the 
United States. The bill would primarily affect vendors who sell 
live lionfish as pets across state lines. CBO estimates that 
the loss of income to those vendors resulting from the bill's 
prohibitions would be small and fall below the annual threshold 
established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($160 million 
in 2018, adjusted annually for inflation).
    The bill contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in UMRA.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Robert Reese 
(for federal costs) and Zachary Byrum (for mandates). The 
estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to amend title 18, United States 
Code, to establish measures to combat invasive lionfish.

                           Earmark Statement

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       Compliance With H. Res. 5

    Directed Rule Making. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE


PART I--CRIMES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 3--ANIMALS, BIRDS, FISH, AND PLANTS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Sec. 42. Importation or shipment of injurious mammals, birds, fish 
                    (including mollusks and crustacea), amphibia, and 
                    reptiles; permits, specimens for museums; 
                    regulations

  (a)(1) The importation into the United States, any territory 
of the United States, the District of Columbia, the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any possession of the United 
States, or any shipment between the continental United States, 
the District of Columbia, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico, or any possession of the United States, of the mongoose 
of the species Herpestes auropunctatus; of the species of so-
called ``flying foxes'' or fruit bats of the genus Pteropus; of 
the zebra mussel of the species Dreissena polymorpha; of the 
red lionfish of the species Pterois volitans; of the devil 
lionfish of the species Pterois miles; of the Hawaiian 
turkeyfish of the species Pterois sphex; of the soldier 
lionfish of the species Pterois russelii; of the clearfin 
lionfish of the species Pterois radiata; of the species Pterois 
paucispinula; of the frillfin turkeyfish of the species Pterois 
mombasae; of the luna lionfish of the species Pterois lunalata; 
of the mandritsa of the species Pterois brevipectoralis; of the 
spotfin lionfish of the species Pterois antennata; of the 
scorpionfish of the species Pterois andover; of the bighead 
carp of the species Hypophthalmichthys nobilis; and such other 
species of wild mammals, wild birds, fish (including mollusks 
and crustacea), amphibians, reptiles, brown tree snakes, or the 
offspring or eggs of any of the foregoing which the Secretary 
of the Interior may prescribe by regulation to be injurious to 
human beings, to the interests of agriculture, horticulture, 
forestry, or to wildlife or the wildlife resources of the 
United States, is hereby prohibited. All such prohibited 
mammals, birds, fish (including mollusks and crustacea), 
amphibians, and reptiles, and the eggs or offspring therefrom, 
shall be promptly exported or destroyed at the expense of the 
importer or consignee. Nothing in this section shall be 
construed to repeal or modify any provision of the Public 
Health Service Act or Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. 
Also, this section shall not authorize any action with respect 
to the importation of any plant pest as defined in the Federal 
Plant Pest Act, insofar as such importation is subject to 
regulation under that Act.
  (2) As used in this subsection, the term ``wild'' relates to 
any creatures that, whether or not raised in captivity, 
normally are found in a wild state; and the terms ``wildlife'' 
and ``wildlife resources'' include those resources that 
comprise wild mammals, wild birds, fish (including mollusks and 
crustacea), and all other classes of wild creatures whatsoever, 
and all types of aquatic and land vegetation upon which such 
wildlife resources are dependent.
  (3) Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Secretary of the 
Interior, when he finds that there has been a proper showing of 
responsibility and continued protection of the public interest 
and health, shall permit the importation for zoological, 
educational, medical, and scientific purposes of any mammals, 
birds, fish, (including mollusks and crustacea), amphibia, and 
reptiles, or the offspring or eggs thereof, where such 
importation would be prohibited otherwise by or pursuant to 
this Act, and this Act shall not restrict importations by 
Federal agencies for their own use.
  (4) Nothing in this subsection shall restrict the importation 
of dead natural-history specimens for museums or for scientific 
collections, or the importation of domesticated canaries, 
parrots (including all other species of psittacine birds), or 
such other cage birds as the Secretary of the Interior may 
designate.
  (5) The Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of the 
Interior shall enforce the provisions of this subsection, 
including any regulations issued hereunder, and, if requested 
by the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of the Treasury 
may require the furnishing of an appropriate bond when 
desirable to insure compliance with such provisions.
  (b) Whoever violates this section, or any regulation issued 
pursuant thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned 
not more than six months, or both.
  (c) The Secretary of the Interior within one hundred and 
eighty days of the enactment of the Lacey Act Amendments of 
1981 shall prescribe such requirements and issue such permits 
as he may deem necessary for the transportation of wild animals 
and birds under humane and healthful conditions, and it shall 
be unlawful for any person, including any importer, knowingly 
to cause or permit any wild animal or bird to be transported to 
the United States, or any Territory or district thereof, under 
inhumane or unhealthful conditions or in violation of such 
requirements. In any criminal prosecution for violation of this 
subsection and in any administrative proceeding for the 
suspension of the issuance of further permits--
          (1) the condition of any vessel or conveyance, or the 
        enclosures in which wild animals or birds are confined 
        therein, upon its arrival in the United States, or any 
        Territory or district thereof, shall constitute 
        relevant evidence in determining whether the provisions 
        of this subsection have been violated; and
          (2) the presence in such vessel or conveyance at such 
        time of a substantial ratio of dead, crippled, 
        diseased, or starving wild animals or birds shall be 
        deemed prima facie evidence of the violation of the 
        provisions of this subsection.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


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