Full Statute Name:  Code of Laws of South Carolina 1976 Annotated. Title 50. Fish, Game and Watercraft. Chapter 15. Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act

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Popular Title:  Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act Primary Citation:  Code 1976 § 50-15-10 to 90 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  April, 2021 Alternate Citation:  SC ST § 50-15-10 to 90 Historical: 
Summary: These statutes comprise the "South Carolina Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act." Included in the provisions are definitions and criteria related to the listing of endangered species. Violation of the provisions constitutes misdemeanors of varying penalties as well as forfeiture of equipment used in the illegal takings.

§ 50-15-10 . Definitions.

§ 50-15-15. Native reptiles; regulations; unlawful acts.

§ 50-15-20 . Investigations on nongame wildlife by department; regulations; management programs; public hearings; prohibited acts.

§ 50-15-30 . Endangered species listed; review and amendment of list; unlawful to take, deal in, or transport species on lists.

§ 50-15-40 . Establishing and carrying out programs for management of nongame and endangered wildlife; removal, capture, or destruction of wildlife.

§ 50-15-50 . Criteria of designating land as certified management area for endangered species; review and revision. 

§ 50-15-55. Nonnative reptiles; regulations; unlawful acts; exceptions.

§ 50-15-60 . Promulgation of regulations.

§ 50-15-65. Omitted by 2014 Act No. 159, § 1, eff April 14, 2014.

§ 50-15-70 . Native turtles; unlawful acts; possession limits..

§ 50-15-75. Omitted by 2014 Act No. 159, § 1, eff April 14, 2014.

§ 50-15-80 . Penalties; searches and seizures; power to arrest; disposition of confiscated property.

§ 50-15-90 . Article not retroactive; certain importation not prohibited. 

 

 § 50-15-10. Definitions.

As used in this article:

(1) “Ecosystem” means a system of living organisms and their environment, each influencing the existence of the other and both necessary for the maintenance of life.

(2) “Endangered species” means any species or subspecies of wildlife whose prospects of survival or recruitment within the State are in jeopardy or are likely within the foreseeable future to become so due to any of the following factors:

(a) the destruction, drastic modification, or severe curtailment of its habitat, or

(b) its over-utilization for scientific, commercial, or sporting purposes, or

(c) the effect on it of disease, pollution, or predation, or

(d) other natural or manmade factors affecting its prospects of survival or recruitment within the State, or

(e) any combination of the foregoing factors. The term shall also be deemed to include any species or subspecies of fish or wildlife appearing on the United States' List of Endangered Native Fish and Wildlife as it appears on July 2, 1974, (Part 17 of Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Appendix D) as well as any species or subspecies of fish and wildlife appearing on the United States' List of Endangered Foreign Fish and Wildlife (Part 17 of Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Appendix A), as such list may be modified hereafter.

(3) “Management” means the collection and application of biological information for the purposes of increasing the number of individuals within species and populations of wildlife up to the optimum carrying capacity of their habitat and maintaining such levels. The term includes the entire range of activities that constitute a modern scientific resource program including, but not limited to, research, census, law enforcement, habitat acquisition and improvement, and education. Also included within the term, when and where appropriate, is the periodic or total protection of species or populations as well as regulated taking.

(4) “Nongame species” or “nongame wildlife” means any wild mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile, fish, mollusk, crustacean, or other wild animal not otherwise legally classified by statute or regulation of this State as a game species.

(5) “Optimum carrying capacity” means that point at which a given habitat can support healthy populations of wildlife species, having regard to the total ecosystem, without diminishing the ability of the habitat to continue that function.

(6) “Person” means any individual, firm, corporation, association, or partnership.

(7) “Take” means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill wildlife.

(8) “Wildlife” means any wild mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, mollusk, crustacean, or other wild animal or any part, product, egg or offspring, or the dead body or parts thereof.

(9) “Captivity” means the condition in which an animal is contained in an enclosed cage, carrier, aquarium, or similar device, yard, or enclosure that prohibits the natural movement of the animal.

(10) “Native” means any species or subspecies considered to be indigenous and naturally occurring in this State.

Credits

HISTORY: 1962 Code § 28-726; 1974 (58) 2384; 1993 Act No. 181, § 1264; former 1976 Code § 50-15-20; 2014 Act No. 159 (S.714), § 1, eff April 14, 2014; 2020 Act No. 177 (H.4831), §§ 4.A, 4.B, eff September 28, 2020.

 

§ 50-15-15. Native reptiles; regulations; unlawful acts.

(A) The department may promulgate regulations for the appropriate management of native reptile and amphibian species, including limitations on, and permitting for, the possession, transfer, sale, barter, trade, shipment, and removal from this State of native reptile and amphibian species.

(B) It is unlawful to possess, transfer, sell, barter, trade, ship, or remove from this State, or attempt to possess, transfer, sell, barter, trade, ship, or remove from this State native reptile and amphibian species, including parts, products, eggs, offspring, and derivatives thereof, in violation of a limit or a permit condition established by the department pursuant to this section.

Credits
HISTORY: 2020 Act No. 177 (H.4831), § 1, eff September 28, 2020.

 

§ 50-15-20. Investigations on nongame wildlife by department; regulations; management programs; public hearings; prohibited acts..

(A) The department shall conduct investigations on nongame wildlife in order to develop information relating to population, distribution, habitat, needs, limiting factors, and other biological and ecological data to determine management measures necessary for their continued ability to sustain themselves successfully. On the basis of such determinations the department shall issue proposed regulations and develop management programs designed to ensure the continued ability of nongame wildlife to perpetuate themselves successfully. Such proposed regulations shall set forth species or subspecies of nongame wildlife which the department deems in need of management pursuant to this section, giving their common and scientific names by species or subspecies. The department shall conduct ongoing investigations of nongame wildlife and may from time to time amend such regulations by adding or deleting therefrom species or subspecies of nongame wildlife.

(B) The department shall by such regulations establish proposed limitations relating to taking, possession, transportation, exportation, processing, sale or offer for sale, or shipment as may be deemed necessary to manage such nongame wildlife.

Such regulation shall become effective sixty days after being proposed during which period public comment shall be solicited and received. The board may hold a public hearing if deemed appropriate. On the basis of public comments received or the testimony at any such hearing the department may make such changes in the proposed regulation as are consistent with effective management of nongame wildlife.

(C) Except as provided in regulations issued by the department, it shall be unlawful for any person to take, possess, transport, export, process, sell, or offer for sale or ship nongame wildlife deemed by the department to be in need of management pursuant to this section. Subject to the same exception, it shall further be unlawful for any common or contract carrier knowingly to transport or receive for shipment nongame wildlife deemed by the department to be in need of management pursuant to this section.

Credits
HISTORY: 1962 Code § 28-728; 1974 (58) 2384; 1993 Act No. 181, § 1264; former 1976 Code § 50-15-30; 2014 Act No. 159 (S.714), § 1, eff April 14, 2014.

 

§ 50-15-30. Endangered species listed; review and amendment of list; unlawful to take, deal in, or transport species on lists.

(A) On the basis of investigations on nongame wildlife provided for in Section 50-15-20 and other available scientific and commercial data, and after consultation with other state agencies, appropriate federal agencies, and other interested persons and organizations, but not later than one year after July 2, 1974, the department shall by regulation propose a list of those species or subspecies of wildlife indigenous to the State which are determined to be endangered within this State, giving their common and scientific names by species and subspecies. Such regulation shall become effective sixty days after being proposed during which period public comment shall be solicited and received. The board may hold a public hearing if deemed appropriate. On the basis of public comments received or the testimony at any such hearing, the department may add to such proposed list additional species or subspecies which are determined to be endangered within the State or delete therefrom such species or subspecies which are determined not to be endangered within the State.

(B) The department shall conduct a review of the state list of endangered species within not more than two years from its effective date and every two years thereafter and may amend the list by such additions or deletions as are deemed appropriate. The department shall submit to the Governor a summary report of the data used in support of all amendments to the state list during the preceding biennium.

(C) Except as otherwise provided in this article, it shall be unlawful for any person to take, possess, transport, export, process, sell or offer for sale, or ship, and for any common or contract carrier knowingly to transport or receive for shipment any species or subspecies of wildlife appearing on any of the following lists:

(1) the list of wildlife indigenous to the State determined to be endangered within the State pursuant to subsection (A);

(2) the United States' List of Endangered Native Fish and Wildlife as it appears on July 2, 1974, (Part 17 of Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Appendix D); and

(3) the United States' List of Endangered Foreign Fish and Wildlife (Part 17 of Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Appendix A), as such list may be modified hereafter; provided, that any species or subspecies of wildlife appearing on any of the foregoing lists which enters the State from another state or from a point outside the territorial limits of the United States and which is transported across the State destined for a point beyond the State may be so entered and transported without restriction in accordance with the terms of any federal permit or permit issued under the laws or regulations of another state.

(D) In the event the United States' List of Endangered Native Fish and Wildlife is modified subsequent to July 2, 1974, by additions or deletions, such modifications whether or not involving species or subspecies indigenous to the State may be accepted as binding under subsection (C) if, after the type of scientific determination described in subsection (A), the department by regulation accepts such modification for the State. Any such regulation shall be effective upon promulgation.

Credits
HISTORY: 1962 Code § 28-729; 1974 (58) 2384; 1993 Act No. 181, § 1264; former 1976 Code § 50-15-40; 2014 Act No. 159 (S.714), § 1, eff April 14, 2014; 2020 Act No. 177 (H.4831), § 5, eff September 28, 2020.

 

§ 50-15-40. Establishing and carrying out programs for management of nongame and endangered wildlife; removal, capture, or destruction of wildlife.

(A) The department shall establish such programs, including acquisition of land or aquatic habitat, as are deemed necessary for management of nongame and endangered wildlife. The department shall utilize all authority vested in the department to carry out the purposes of this section.

(B) In carrying out programs authorized by this section, the department may enter into agreements with federal agencies, political subdivisions of the State, or with private persons for administration and management of any area established under this section or utilized for management of nongame or endangered wildlife.

(C) The Governor shall encourage other state and federal agencies to utilize their authorities in furtherance of the purposes of this section.

(D) The department may permit the taking, possession, transportation, exportation, or shipment of species or subspecies of wildlife which appear on the state list of endangered species, or species in need of management on the United States' List of Threatened or Endangered Native Fish and Wildlife, as amended and accepted in accordance with Section 50-15-30(D), or on the United States' List of Threatened or Endangered Foreign Fish and Wildlife, as such list may be modified hereafter, for scientific, zoological, or educational purposes, for propagation in captivity of such wildlife, or for other special purposes.

(E) Upon good cause shown, and where necessary to alleviate damage to property or to protect human health, endangered species may be removed, captured, or destroyed but only pursuant to permit issued by the department and, where possible, by or under the supervision of an agent of the department; provided, that threatened or endangered species or species in need of management may be removed, captured, or destroyed without permit by any person in emergency situations involving an immediate threat to human life. Provisions for removal, capture, or destruction of nongame wildlife for the purposes set forth above shall be set forth in regulations issued by the department pursuant to Section 50-15-20(A).

Credits
HISTORY: 1962 Code § 28-730; 1974 (58) 2384; 1993 Act No. 181, § 1264; 2004 Act No. 246, § 2; 2008 Act No. 179, § 1, eff February 19, 2008; former 1976 Code § 50-15-50; 2014 Act No. 159 (S.714), § 1, eff April 14, 2014; 2020 Act No. 177 (H.4831), § 6, eff September 28, 2020.


 

§ 50-15-50. Criteria of designating land as certified management area for endangered species; review and revision.  

(A) The department shall promulgate regulations addressing criteria for designating land as certified management area for endangered species or of species in need of management in order to qualify a taxpayer for the income tax credit provided for in Section 12-6-3520.

(B) Every five years the department may review the population status of species subject to certified management agreements and shall revise the regulations accordingly. The department may revise criteria at that time as necessary for lands to retain their designation as certified management areas.

Credits
HISTORY: 1999 Act No. 100, Part II, § 95; former 1976 Code § 50-15-55; 2014 Act No. 159 (S.714), § 1, eff April 14, 2014.

 

§ 50-15-55. Nonnative reptiles; regulations; unlawful acts; exceptions.

(A) It is unlawful for a person to release wildlife that is not native to this State from captivity in this State.

(B) The department may promulgate regulations to prohibit or otherwise restrict certain species of nonnative wildlife in this State, including species that:

(1) have the potential to become established in this State in sufficient numbers so as to become a nuisance; and

(2) pose a demonstrable deleterious and widespread threat to wildlife, agriculture, or human health and safety.

(C) Sanitary and safe disposal of dead wildlife is not a violation of this section.

(D) The provisions of this section do not apply to the release of foxes and coyotes pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 11, Title 50 and to the release of other nonnative species from captivity if authorized by law.

Credits
HISTORY: 2020 Act No. 177 (H.4831), § 2, eff September 28, 2020.

 

§ 50-15-60 -Promulgation of regulations.

The department shall promulgate such regulations as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this article.

Credits
HISTORY: 1962 Code § 28-731; 1974 (58) 2384; 1993 Act No. 181, § 1264; former 1976 Code § 50-15-70; 2014 Act No. 159 (S.714), § 1, eff April 14, 2014.

 

§ 50-15-65. Omitted by 2014 Act No. 159, § 1, eff April 14, 2014.

 

§ 50-15-70. Native turtles; unlawful acts; possession limits.

(A) Except as otherwise provided in this article, it is unlawful for a person to possess, sell, barter, trade, ship, or remove from this State, or attempt to possess, sell, barter, trade, ship, or remove from this State the following native species of turtles, including parts, products, eggs, offspring, and derivatives thereof:

(1) Florida cooter (Pseudemys floridana);

(2) river cooter (Pseudemys concinna);

(3) chicken turtle (Deirochelys reticularia);

(4) eastern painted turtle (Chrysemys picta);

(5) spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera);

(6) Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox);

(7) eastern mud turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum);

(8) striped mud turtle (Kinosternon baurii);

(9) common musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus);

(10) yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta);

(11) common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina);

(12) eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina); and

(13) diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin).

(B) The following personal possession limits, subject to an aggregate limit of ten, are established:

(1) Florida cooter (Pseudemys floridana): 5;

(2) river cooter (Pseudemys concinna): 5;

(3) chicken turtle (Deirochelys reticularia): 5;

(4) eastern painted turtle (Chrysemys picta): 5;

(5) spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera): 5;

(6) Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox): 5;

(7) eastern mud turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum): 5;

(8) striped mud turtle (Kinosternon baurii): 5;

(9) common musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus): 5;

(10) yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta): 5;

(11) common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina): 5;

(12) eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina): 2; and

(13) diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin): 2.

(C) The department may permit the possession of native species of turtles in excess of the limits established in subsection (B) for scientific, zoological, conservation, or other special purposes.

Credits
HISTORY: 2009 Act No. 6, § 1, eff May 6, 2009; former 1976 Code § 50-15-75; 2014 Act No. 159 (S.714), § 1, eff April 14, 2014; 2020 Act No. 177 (H.4831), § 3.A, eff September 28, 2020.

 

§ 50-15-75. Omitted by 2014 Act No. 159, § 1, eff April 14, 2014.

 

 

§ 50-15-80. Penalties; searches and seizures; power to arrest; disposition of confiscated property.

(A) A person who violates Section 50-15-15, 50-15-20, or 50-15-70, or who fails to procure or violates the terms of a permit issued under a regulation promulgated pursuant to these sections, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

(B) A person who violates Section 50-15-30(C), Section 50-15-55, or a regulation promulgated pursuant to these sections, or who fails to procure or violates the terms of a permit issued pursuant to Section 50-15-40(D) or (E), is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two thousand five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(C)(1) The magistrates court has concurrent jurisdiction over violations of Sections 50-15-15, 50-15-20, 50-15-30, 50-15-40(D) and (E), 50-15-55, 50-15-70, and regulations promulgated pursuant to these sections.

(2) Each individual animal not covered by a legal exemption or authorization by the department is considered a separate violation. The court may order restitution for a violation of Section 50-15-15, 50-15-20, 50-15-30, 50-15-40(D) and (E), 50-15-55, or 50-15-70.

(3) Upon the conviction of a violator, the department must revoke any permits issued pursuant to this chapter, and the violator is prohibited from applying to obtain another permit from the department directly or indirectly for a period of two years following the conviction.

(D) An enforcement officer employed and authorized by the department or a police officer of the State or a municipality or county within the State may conduct searches as provided by law and execute a warrant to search for and seize equipment, business records, merchandise, or wildlife taken, used, or possessed in connection with a violation of this article. The officer or agency, without a warrant, may arrest a person who the officer or agent has probable cause to believe is violating, in his presence or view, the article or a regulation or permit provided for by it. An officer or agent who has made an arrest of a person in connection with a violation may search the person or business records at the time of arrest and seize wildlife, records, or property taken or used in connection with the violation.

(E) Equipment, merchandise, wildlife, or records seized under subsection (D) must be held by an officer or agent of the department pending disposition of court proceedings and forfeited to the State for destruction or disposition as the department considers appropriate. Before forfeiture, the department may direct the transfer of wildlife seized to a qualified zoological, educational, or scientific institution for safekeeping. The costs of holding the confiscated wildlife and items are assessable to the defendant upon conviction. The department may promulgate regulations to implement this subsection.

Credits
HISTORY: 1962 Code § 28-732; 1974 (58) 2384; 1985 Act No. 25, § 1; 1993 Act No. 181, § 1264; 1994 Act No. 386, § 3; 2004 Act No. 246, § 3; 2008 Act No. 179, § 3, eff February 19, 2008; 2014 Act No. 159 (S.714), § 1, eff April 14, 2014; 2020 Act No. 177 (H.4831), § 7, eff September 28, 2020.

 

§ 50-15-90. Article not retroactive; certain importation not prohibited.

None of the provisions of this article shall be construed to apply retroactively or to prohibit importation into the State of wildlife which may be lawfully imported into the United States or lawfully taken or removed from another state or to prohibit entry into the State or possession, transportation, exportation, processing, sale or offer for sale, or shipment of any wildlife whose species or subspecies is deemed to be threatened with statewide extinction in this State but not in the state where originally taken if the person engaging therein demonstrates by substantial evidence that such wildlife was lawfully taken or removed from such state; provided, that this section shall not be construed to permit the possession, transportation, exportation, processing, sale or offer for sale, or shipment within this State of wildlife on the United States' List of Endangered Native Fish and Wildlife, as amended and accepted in accordance with Section 50-15-30(D), except as permitted in the proviso to Section 50-15-30(C) and Section 50-15-40(D).

Credits
HISTORY: 1962 Code § 28-733; 1974 (58) 2384; 1993 Act No. 181, § 1264; 2014 Act No. 159 (S.714), § 1, eff April 14, 2014.

 

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