Importing trophies from Africa – a reply
September 2013, Volume 11-4

Having read your article Importation of trophies from Africa into EU in the June edition (Vol. 11 #3) of the African Indaba, I’m afraid that it does not correctly reflect the legal situation for hunters normally residing in the EU, as regards the importation of hippo specimens from Mozambique. It is indeed true that the EU has listed specimens from the hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius) from Mozambique in its latest “Suspension Regulation”, Commission Regulation (EU) No 578/2013. However, since that species is listed in Annex B to Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97, hunters normally residing in the EU are still able to import its trophies into the Union for non-commercial purposes under the personal and household effects derogation, provided that an export permit can be provided to the EU customs.

This is how it works: The importation of Annex B specimens (such as from the Hippopotamus amphibius) into the EU is normally governed by Article 4, paragraph 2 of Council Regulation (EC) No338/97 .

Both an export and an import permit will be required. In case the importation of specimens of an Annex B species be suspended in accordance with Article 4, paragraph 6 (i.e. through listing in the suspension regulation), an import permit cannot be obtained from the management authority of the Member State of destination and thus the importation cannot lawfully occur. So far your article is correct.

However, according to the Article 7, paragraph 3 (Personal and Household Effects) of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97, the provisions of Article 4 (as described above) “shall not apply to dead specimens, parts and derivatives of species listed in Annexes A to D which are personal or household effects being introduced into the Community, or exported or re-exported there from, in compliance with provisions that shall be specified by the Commission”.

The details of this derogation have been implemented in Articles 57 and 58 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006  Article 57, paragraph 3 of that regulation provides that “the first introduction into the Community of personal or household effects, including hunting trophies, by a person normally residing in the Community and involving specimens of species listed in Annex B to Regulation (EC) No 338/97 shall not require the presentation to customs of an import permit, provided that the original of a (re-)export document and a copy thereof are presented.”

In conclusion, the listing of an Annex B species in the EU suspension regulation (EU) No 578/2013 or a negative opinion from the EU Scientific Review Group issued regarding a specific Annex B species, do not prevent hunters normally residing in the EU to import its trophies into the Union for non-commercial purposes under the personal and household effects derogation, provided that an export or re-export permit can be provided to the EU customs. (The same is not true for Annex A species, but that is not what we are concerned with here.)

In case of any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Author: Johan SVALBY, Legal Advisor
FACE – Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU
johan.svalby@face.eu
www.face.eu