FW: crime (Real example)

Paulo Petry - Fisheries petryp at UCS.ORST.EDU
Wed Jul 12 10:21:24 CDT 1995


On Wed, 12 Jul 1995, Joseph Laferriere wrote:

> I agree to a certain expent, but three comments:
>
> 1) The legal standard of "innocent until proven guilty" is allegedly the law
> in the US, but in many other countries (including some in Europe) just the
> opposite is the case.
>

I'd like to add that using the ignorance of the law as defense should not
be a valid argument.  Below is an example of how the law was broken, and
neither the museum (in the "first world", neither the editors of the journal
seemed to care about the legality of the specimens, or legislation of a
"third world country".
        Also, I'd like to point out that at least one large natural history
museum here in the US run into trouble with the USFWS because they had
specimens that did not have the proper documentation.

The text below ilustrates well what the issue about repatriation really is
about.

>
> Sands, David D. 1995. Four new *Corydoras* (Callichthyidae) species from
> Upper Negro River tributaries and a range extension, together with a
> discussion of *C. bicolor* Nijssen & Isbrucker." *Freshwater and Marine
> Aquarium Magazine* 18 (7): 8-12, 14, 16, 17.
>The official publication date is June 15, 1995.
>
> *C. amandajanea* is described from 8 specimens from the Rio Miua system of
> streams, Brazil....
> *C. crypticus* is described from 8 specimens from the Rio Miua
system. ...
> *C. duplicareus* is described from 2 specimens collected from  Rio Poranga,
> Brazil. ...
> *C. serratus* is described from a single specimen from Rio
Poranga....
>

Comments by Scott Schaefer to NIA-Net:

I'd like to further point out that NOT a single holotype nor any of
the 13 paratypes of the four new species were returned to Brazil, as
required by Brazilian law.  Material was collected in November 1992
and all specimens were deposited in the Liverpool (England) Museum.

I bring this to the attention of the NIA and general ichthyological
community because, in my opinion, this action, in addition to being
illegal, is potentially injurious to international cooperative
research and ichthyological relations with Brazilian colleagues.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the author's activities
in Brazil in 1992, by publication of the scientific descriptions,
the collecting work is regarded scientific activity and thus is
regulated by Decree No. 98.830 of the Brazilian Ministry of Science
& Technology of 15 January 1990.  Chapter 7, article 42 of that
decree specifies that holotypes and 50% of paratypes must be depositied
in Brazilian institutions.

The issue of return of type material is related but distinct from the
issue of repatriation of ALL specimens (type and non-type), an
argument now being considered on Taxacom & elsewhere.  As is well
known, there are several outstanding Brazilian ichthyological
collections, with excellent curatorial facility to ensure the care
and safety of the type material and its access to the research
community.  The argument of safety and access does not apply in this
case, at least not at the larger Brazilian ichthyological
collections such as MZUSP, MNRJ and MCP.

There are enough bureaucratic obstacles to international
cooperative fieldwork in Brazil following the 1990 decree; just ask
John Lundberg or myself about what is required by Brazilian law, and
by extension, the U.S. Lacey Act (regarding U.S. citizens).  This
kind of activity makes future prospects only more difficult by
perpetuating the "colonialist" perception on the part of many,
including non-scientists and government officials.  Respect for the
laws of other nations demonstrates respect for our foreign
colleagues; both must be upheld for the sake of future research.


___________________________________________________________________
Scott A. Schaefer                        schaefer at say.acnatsci.org
Associate Curator
Dept. of Ichthyology                           voice: 215-299-1002
Academy of Natural Sciences                    fax:   215-299-1028
1900 Ben Franklin Pkwy.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1195 U.S.A.

Best Fishes,

Figure 1- Tambaqui feeding on fruits from the flooded forest
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