John L. Dentler


This Comment examines the dangers inherent in exotic species and evaluates federal and Washington State efforts to regulate the introduction of exotic fish and wildlife. Current federal and state law is poorly equipped to prevent the introduction of harmful exotic species or remedy damages caused by them. The laws governing exotic species should be changed through (1) the enactment of more stringent laws prohibiting or regulating the introduction of exotic species, (2) statutorily created rights to recover for natural resource damage caused by the introduction of exotic species, (3) private rights of action to recover for personal injury or property damage caused by the introduction of exotic species, and (4) national and international efforts to effectively deal with the problem. Part II of this Comment explores the means by which an exotic species may be released or established into an ecosystem and surveys some of the typical effects of transferring species to foreign habitats. Part III surveys some of the current regimes governing exotic species' introductions, including federal and Washington State laws and regulations. Part IV critically evaluates the existing regulatory framework and, in particular, addresses the difficulties inherent to state-by-state regulation of exotic species' introductions. Part V of this Comment argues that only comprehensive national and even international approaches regulating the importation, transfer, and release of exotic species will be effective in controlling the ever increasing number of native species threatened with extinction. Part V also suggests how a national approach might be structured to better protect native fish and wildlife resources.