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Fish & Wildlife Service

You may visit United States Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service website at

Effective July 3, 2000, Customs brokers are no longer be able to file U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) entries using the Automatic Broker Interface (ABI). Brokers will only file a paper Declaration for Importation of Fish or Wildlife (Form 3-177) along with the required document package to obtain FWS clearance. Brokers will be required to submit copies of the cleared FWS declaration to U. S. Customs to secure release of their shipments.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are responsible for enforcement of all U. S., International and foreign laws concerning the importation and exportation of live wildlife and wildlife products. Parts of various species of wildlife are used as ingredients in Asian medicines. While some of the species used are prohibited from import into the United States, others are allowed entry under certain conditions and requirements. Listed below are some general guidelines for importing wildlife parts and products:

  • Federal regulations require the filing of a Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish and Wildlife (Form 3-177) for all commercial shipments containing live wildlife or wildlife products. Importers and brokers are required to present the Declaration to USWGS for clearance prior to release by the U. S. Customs Service. (50 CFR 14)
  • The Endangered Species Act strictly prohibits the import of the parts and products of wildlife species listed as Endangered (16 USC 1531 et seq.). Examples include: tiger, rhinoceros, leopard and musk deer.
  • The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) governs the trade in many wildlife species. CITES prohibits the trade in species such as tiger, rhinoceros, musk deer and Asian bear. Other species, such as pangolin, crocodile and certain snakes require special permits to allow import or export of their parts and products.
  • Many foreign countries have laws similar to the United States, that prohibit or restrict the export their native wildlife. Under the U. S. Lacey Act (16 USC 3371 et seq.), wildlife that is imported in violation of a foreign law is subject to seizure.
  • Many Asian medicines contain wildlife ingredients that are subject to regulation by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Common examples of wildlife in Asian medicine include: sea shells, turtle shell, dried lizard, seahorse, sea cucumber, deer antler, scorpion, centipede, leeches, and various parts of bear, tiger, rhinoceros, seal and musk deer. These wildlife products may be found as whole animal parts or as ingredients in manufactured medicines. Some of the species are prohibited, while others may be imported with the filing appropriate documentation.
  • Many wildlife species and medicines fall under regulations governed by other Federal agencies such as the U. S. Dept. of Agriculture and the U. S. food and Drug Administration. Importers are advised to contact these agencies for requirements.
  • Importers are responsible for knowing the contents of the products they import. U. S. Fish and Wildlife requires the scientific name (Genus and Species) and the Country of Origin (C/O) for all wildlife contained in medicines or parts of such wildlife. With this information, importers can contact their local U. S. Fish and Wildlife office of law enforcement with questions concerning prohibited wildlife and document requirements. For information contact the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Law Enforcement at 310-328-6307.

The following import procedures and guidelines will be followed at the Port of Los Angeles regarding the clearance of fish and wildlife imports.


The entry package must include the following documents for shipments clearing U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service at the Port of Los Angeles.

  • Import Declaration Form 3-177 (1 original and 3 copies)
  • All ORIGINAL foreign export permits
  • Copy of U. S. Customs Form 3461, if applicable
  • Copy of air waybill or bill of lading
  • Copy of commercial invoices and packing list
  • Copy of any other pertinent documents (APHIS permits, health certification, etc.)
  • Inspection Fee check payable to DOI, U. S. Fish and wildlife Service or credit card may be used by the required Import/Export licensee. The entry package should be presented to the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service at 370 Amapola Ave., Suite 114, Torrance, CA. Entries are accepted Monday thru Friday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Tel: 310-328-6307 Fax: 310-328-6399


In-transit shipments clearing U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Los Angeles and then traveling in-bound to another ports for U. S. Customs clearance need to be the following:

  • The importer should instruct the exporting company to mark the air waybill, bill of lading or other shipping documents with "Notify and hold for fish and Wildlife Inspection in Los Angeles". Generally, the carrier advises U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service that they have received a shipment requiring clearance. The Los Angeles office requires 72 hours from notification of arrival to clear in-transit shipments.


Importer of live and perishable wildlife should notify the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service at least 12 hours prior to the arrival of the shipment at the Port of Los Angeles. This 12-hour notification will enable the Wildlife Inspection staff to expedite the shipment.

NON-BUSINESS HOURS: Hours other that 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Mon.-Fri. Notification of shipments arriving after hours should be made during normal business hours. Live and/or perishable shipments arriving after business hours will not be cleared unless an over-time is scheduled. Overtime must be scheduled in advance. However, overtime will be scheduled based upon the availability of a Wildlife Inspector. Once an appointment is made to inspect a live or perishable shipment, please advice U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service IMMEDIATELY if the shipment is delayed or cancelled.

  • Non-Perishable inspection takes 3 - 4 days
  • Perishable inspection takes place right away.
  • Declaration can be faxed to FWL before the inspection.

In State of California, there is a Department of Fish & Game. They are also watch very closely on importation of live fishes (except of tropical fishes) and live animals. The importer MUST obtain a "PERMIT" from Fish & Game Department before importation of your shipment. The PERMIT is free. Please call Mr. Allen Weingarten at 562-590-5179.







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