US halts Mexico shrimp imports on sea turtle concerns
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico said Friday it will try to regain U.S. certification for shrimp exports, after the country lost its registration because of inadequate protections for sea turtles.
Mexico’s agriculture department said it will take corrective measures and carry out training to ensure Mexican trawl-net shrimp boats don’t sweep up sea turtles as by-catch. The department said the U.S. ban coincides with the closure of Mexico’s shrimp fishing season.
Mexico had required fishermen to install sea-turtle-exclusion devices on shrimp nets. But the U.S. State Department said Friday that Mexico no longer met U.S. standards on the issue.
It was not clear whether that was because Mexico hadn’t been enforcing the protections, or because U.S. procedures became more stringent. However, Mexico acknowledged it will institute a “more aggressive program of inspection and oversight.”
The State Department said it “suspended the certification of Mexico because its sea turtle protection program is no longer comparable to that of the United States.”
Most of Mexico’s wild shrimp catch is exported to the United States.