19 June 2015
Mainland China, Hong Kong, Others Certified to Export Shrimp to the United States
The U.S. Department of State has certified 40 nations and one economy as meeting the requirements set by Section 609 of Public Law 101-162, which prohibits the importation of shrimp and products of shrimp harvested in a manner that may adversely affect sea turtle species. As a result of this certification, these countries and economy may continue to export shrimp to the United States.
The Section 609 ban does not apply when the State Department certifies to Congress that (i) the harvesting nation has adopted a programme governing the incidental capture of sea turtles in its commercial shrimp fishery that is comparable to that of the programme in effect in the U.S. and has an incidental take rate comparable to that of the U.S. or (ii) the fishing environment in the harvesting nation does not pose a threat of the incidental taking of sea turtles. State makes certifications annually and bases them in part on verification visits to exporting countries.
According to State, 14 nations have sea turtle protection programmes that are comparable to that of the United States: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Gabon, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama and Suriname.
In addition, 26 nations and one economy have fishing environments that do not pose a danger to sea turtles. Of these, the Bahamas, Belize, mainland China, the Dominican Republic, Fiji, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Oman, Peru, Sri Lanka and Venezuela only harvest shrimp using small boats with crews of less than five that use manual rather than mechanical means to retrieve nets, or catch shrimp using other methods that do not threaten sea turtles. Another 16 nations have shrimping grounds only in cold waters, where the risk of taking sea turtles is negligible: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.
State is also confirming the requirement for all DS-2031 forms accompanying shrimp imports from uncertified nations to be originals and signed by the competent domestic fisheries authority.
For shrimp harvested with turtle excluder devices in an uncertified nation to be eligible for importation into the United States under the exemption for shrimp harvested by commercial shrimp trawl vessels using TEDs comparable in effectiveness to those required in the United States, State must determine in advance that the government of the harvesting nation has put in place adequate procedures to ensure the accurate completion of the DS-2031 forms. At this time, State has made such a determination with respect to Australia and France.