U.S. lifts ban on Costa Rica shrimp


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
May 20, 2012

The United States has lifted its ban on wild shrimp imports from Costa Rica; the ban was first imposed in 2009.

Imports of wild shrimp from Costa Rica were suspended by the U.S. State Department after it found that some Costa Rican shrimp trawlers were failing to comply with requirements for turtle excluder devices (TEDs) aboard their vessels. However, inspections last year showed that the country has taken sufficient steps to address the issue and justify the recertification. The certification is required by law to mitigate turtle bycatch.

“It should be noted that Costa Rica continued successful legal action against the captains of vessels that did not implement the TEDs,” said Anne Andrew, U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica. “We should give credit to INCOPESCA and the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas. Protecting marine resources is essential for sustainable development. We firmly believe that INCOPESCA should exercise, with the same care, the promotion of responsible fishing of all marine resources of Costa Rica.”

The ban had hardly no effect on the U.S. shrimp supply, as Costa Rica isn’t even among the top 25 shrimp suppliers to the U.S. market. The United States imports more than 1.3 billion pounds of shrimp a year, and imports account for about 90 percent of the U.S. shrimp supply.

A somewhat similar situation played out two years ago in Mexico, as a ban on imports of wild shrimp from that country was imposed temporarily due to TEDs violations.

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