The Department of State notified Congress on October 21, 2021 of the certification of Mexico under Section 609 of United States Public Law 101-162 (“Section 609”). Section 609 prohibits the import of shrimp and shrimp products harvested in ways that may adversely affect sea turtle species. This certification, allowing again for importation of wild-caught shrimp into the United States from Mexico pursuant to Section 609, is based on a determination that Mexico’s turtle excluder devices (TEDs) program is again comparable in effectiveness to the U.S. program.
The United States and Mexico have been working in close cooperation on sea turtle conservation as well as a range of bilateral fisheries and marine conservation issues. The Government of Mexico implemented a plan of action in the past several months to strengthen sea turtle conservation in its shrimp trawl fisheries, resulting in significantly improved use of TEDs by its fishing industry, as verified by a team of representatives from the State Department and National Marine Fisheries Service.
The U.S. government is currently providing technology and capacity-building assistance to other nations to contribute to the recovery of sea turtle species and help them receive certification under Section 609. When properly designed, built, installed, used, and maintained, TEDs allow 97 percent of sea turtles to escape the shrimp net without appreciable loss of shrimp. The U.S. government also encourages legislation in other countries to prevent the importation of shrimp harvested in a manner harmful to protected sea turtles.