US certifies countries and fisheries for wild shrimp imports
The United States has certified 37 countries, 13 fisheries in seven other nations, and Hong Kong as having shrimp-harvesting practices that protect sea turtle populations, according to the U.S. State Department.
The State Department’s findings were published last week in the Federal Register and publicized in a press release issued Monday, 16 May, 2022. The determinations means wild-caught shrimp from those countries are eligible to be imported into the U.S.
The countries certified include Argentina, the Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Russia, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay.
The additional fisheries that were certified are based in Australia (Northern Prawn Fishery, the Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery, the Spencer Gulf, and the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery), France (French Guiana), Italy (giant red shrimp), Japan (shrimp baskets in Hokkaido), Malaysia (Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, and Johor), Spain (Mediterranean red shrimp), and South Korea (mosquito nets).
“For nations, economies, and fisheries not listed above, only shrimp harvested from aquaculture is eligible to enter the United States,” the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs stated in the Federal Register on 13 May.
Russian seafood imports are currently banned as a result of sanctions U.S. President Joe Biden implemented after Russia invaded Ukraine in March 2022.
Since 1991, the United States has banned the import of wild shrimp unless the fisheries have been certified as having adopted regulatory practices comparable to the U.S. in terms of protecting sea turtle populations. Nations can also be exempt if their shrimp fishery does not threaten sea turtle habitats while shrimp are harvested.
The State Department said that six of the seven marine turtle species are considered either endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
“The U.S. government is currently providing technology and capacity-building assistance to other nations to help them meet the standard for certification under Section 609 and to contribute to the recovery of sea turtle species,” the State Department said. “The U.S. government also encourages legislation like Section 609 in other nations to prevent the importation of shrimp harvested in a manner harmful to protected sea turtles.”
Photo courtesy of Mati Nitibhon/Shutterstock