The National Marine Fisheries Service announced Sept. 1 that it has positively certified Mexico for its actions to reduce loggerhead sea turtle bycatch in the Mexican Gulf of Ulloa gillnet fishery. As a result, the U.S. will not impose restrictions on imports of seafood from Mexico.

Mexico was identified in 2013 for not having effective management measures for mitigating such bycatch and in 2015 NMFS issued to Mexico the first-ever negative certification under the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act. A negative certification subjects the nation to U.S. port access denial for fishing vessels of that nation and potential import restrictions on fish and fish products associated with the fishing activity for which the nation was identified. However, it appears that no such restrictions were actually imposed following Mexico’s negative certification.

Those restrictions are now precluded by NMFS’ positive certification of Mexico, which supersedes the negative certification. NMFS reports that Mexico has put in place revised and strengthened regulations to reduce loggerhead bycatch that implement fishing gear restrictions, limit the number of sea turtle deaths due to fishing, and establish a fisheries refuge. According to NMFS, Mexico says these measures will remain in place to ensure loggerhead conservation and long-term fishery sustainability and resiliency.

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