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Seafood Imports from Mexico Could Face Restrictions

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The U.S. could soon ban imports of some seafood from Mexico after determining that that country has not done enough to protect loggerhead turtles.

The National Marine Fisheries Services recently issued to the government of Mexico the first-ever negative certification under the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act. Mexico was cited for not adopting a regulatory program comparable to that of the United States to address bycatch of North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles in the Gulf of Ulloa, Baja California Sur.

Mexico was identified in 2013 for not having effective management measures for mitigating such bycatch and responded in April 2015 by adopting a regulation that includes measures such as establishing a fisheries reserve in the affected area, creating a mortality limit for loggerheads within that reserve and limited gear restrictions. NMFS states that while it commends Mexico for taking this action it has determined that this regulatory program is not comparable in effectiveness to relevant U.S. regulatory measures.

In light of this negative certification, NMFS will now have to make a recommendation to the White House on which seafood imports from Mexico should be restricted. Agency officials said they are currently developing this recommendation but gave no indication on when restrictions might take effect.

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