Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Canada Geese New Jersey



The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), originally passed in 1918, implements the United States’ commitment to four bilateral treaties, or conventions, for the protection of a shared migratory bird resource. The original treaty upon which the MBTA was passed was the Convention for the protection of Migratory Birds signed with Great Britain in 1916 on behalf of Canada for the protection of the many species of birds that traverse certain parts of the United States and Canada in their annual migration. The primary motivation for negotiation of the 1916 treaty and the passage of the MBTA was to stop the indiscriminate slaughter of migratory birds by market hunters and others. The MBTA was subsequently amended as treaties were signed with Mexico (1936, amended 1972 and 1999), Japan (1972), and Russia (1976). The Canadian Treaty was amended in December of 1995 to allow traditional subsistence hunting of migratory birds.

Canada geese are Federally protected by the MBTA by reason of the fact that they are listed as migratory birds in all four treaties. Regulations must meet the requirements of the most restrictive of the four, which for Canada geese is the treaty with Canada.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act provides that it is unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, possess, sell, purchase, barter, import, export, or transport any migratory bird, or any part, nest, or egg of any such bird, unless authorized by permit. Take is defined in regulations as: pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to pursue, hunt, shoot, would, kill, trap, capture, or collect.

This information was gleaned from the Internet from web sites deemed reliable


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