Under the Endangered Species Act, NOAA Fisheries must list threatened and endangered marine species regardless of where they are found.
Under the Endangered Species Act, NOAA Fisheries lists species as endangered or threatened regardless of where they are found. If a species occurs only in areas beyond the U.S. exclusive economic zone and territorial waters, we refer to it as a “foreign species” in our counts of ESA-listed species.
View foreign species under NOAA Fisheries’ jurisdiction.
Listing Under the ESA
The listing process for a foreign species is no different than the listing process for any other species under the ESA.
Protection Under the ESA
The ESA primarily protects foreign species by restricting trade and may prohibit certain activities, including import, export, take, commercial activity, interstate commerce, and foreign commerce. By regulating these activities, the United States ensures that people under its jurisdiction do not contribute to the further decline of a listed species.
Although ESA prohibitions regarding listed foreign species only apply to people under U.S. jurisdiction, the ESA can benefit the conservation of these species by increasing global awareness of the threats they face, promoting research efforts to address conservation needs, or encouraging funding for in situ conservation in the species’ range countries.
Can NOAA Fisheries designate critical habitat for foreign species?
No, we cannot designate critical habitat in foreign waters. We can only designate critical habitat in waters under U.S. jurisdiction per 50 CFR 424.12(g).