Skip to main content

Can a tourist (me) in Sint Maarten, harvest corals for his personal saltwater tank, and then bring them into the US?

Cedar City, UT |

It would only be a few small pieces of live coral, to grow in my personal salt water tank at home. None would be sold or traded. No profit would be made.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Interesting case. It seems you are a tourist and you want to engage in harvesting activity in this Island. First of all in order to engage in harvesting activity you need to comply with some local rules and in particular with the Dutch rules existing on this territory. Once you have obtained a permit to harvest as a tourist (let's assume you can do it but I doubt it), the second stage is to engage in an international trade activity with the US. Corals are protected species and import in the US falls under the CITES, Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Corals are regulated under Appendix II. In order to import coral (reef coral of other protected species) you need to obtain an export permit from the authorities of Saint Marteens declaring that such activity will not jeopardize the natural resources of the island (not an easy task). Thirdly, the US prohibits or regulates strictly the harvesting of coral within US waters.
From a legal perspective, this is something that that I would recommend.
In addition data are alarming. Trade in live coral reef from the Caribbean islands increases only for the benefit of marine aquarium and fish tank collectors. However, 90% of the live coral removed dies during transport. Because coral reef grows at an extremely low pace, the removal of this magnificent organism destroys the natural habitat of many other species....
In other words, according to the data, the removal of coral has certainly foreseeable negative consequences.

This reply is offered for educational purpose only. You should seek the advice of an attorney. The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than an educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the undisclosed individual asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of New York. Responses are based solely on New York Law unless stated otherwise. Pursuant to Internal Revenue Service guidance, be advised that any federal tax advice contained in this written or electronic communication is not intended or written to be used and it cannot be used by any person or entity for the purpose of (i) avoiding any tax penalties that may be imposed by the Internal Revenue Service or any other U.S. Federal taxing authority or agency or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

Mark as helpful

2 lawyers agree

1 comment

Luca Cristiano Maria Melchionna

Luca Cristiano Maria Melchionna

Posted

From a legal perspective, this is something that I would NOT recommend.

Posted

I agree with counsel. What exactly is it that you're hoping to achieve?

Ms. Johns can be reached at (866) 402-4038. Ms. Johns is a lawyer although she is not your lawyer unless and until you have consulted with her and signed a fee or letter agreement confirming her representation of you. This email does not otherwise constitute legal advice or create an attorney client relationship. Ms. Johns and her employees are not tax lawyers or financial advisors and do not give tax or financial advice of any kind. If you wish such services, please consult with the appropriate professional in that field.

Mark as helpful

2 lawyers agree

Posted

I agree with the counsels. I would start with getting permits assuming you can.

Mark as helpful

Business topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics