US Will Ban Wild-Harvest Shrimp Imports from Mexico
March 29, 2010
The State Department said Mexico is losing its certification to export wild-harvest shrimp to the United States because of safety problems associated with endangered sea turtles. Mexico’s trawls do not have the required protections for protecting the endangered species. The department said the certification was withdrawn after the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service determined that Mexico''s turtle excluder devices no longer meet U.S. standards. U.S. rules require that exporters use excluders comparable to those used by American shrimpers. Certification for Mexican shrimpers will be withdrawn on April 20, by then Mexico''s shrimp season will have closed for the summer. The State Department said proper exclusion devices could prevent turtle mortality in shrimp trawl nets up to 97 percent. Mexico''s National Fisheries Council said that it was working with U.S. experts to remedy the situation as soon as possible, and expressed hopes its shrimp fleets could be recertified following new inspections in August and September. The council noted that the U.S. action applied only to shrimp wild-harvested in open-ocean, which accounts for only about 20 percent of Mexico''s annual shrimp production. Most of Mexico''s shrimp are caught in shallow coastal waters or are farmed.