Seafood Import Restrictions
Effective April 3, 2020, current import restrictions expand to other gear types; and to anchovy, herrings, sardines, mackerels, croaker, and pilchard caught within the Upper Gulf of California.
NOAA Fisheries has revoked comparability findings, under the import provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, for several Mexican fisheries within the range of the vaquita in the Upper Gulf of California. Effective April 3, 2020, this action expands the current import restrictions on shrimp, curvina, sierra, and chano fish and fish products caught in the Upper Gulf of California with gillnets to other gear types; and to anchovy, herrings, sardines, mackerels, croaker, and pilchard caught within the Upper Gulf of California. The vaquita is a species of porpoise endemic to the northern part of the Gulf of California that is on the brink of extinction.
The affected fisheries are:
- Upper Gulf of California shrimp trawl fishery, for both small and large vessels;
- Upper Gulf of California shrimp suripera fishery;
- Upper Gulf of California sierra purse seine fishery;
- Upper Gulf of California sierra hook and line fishery;
- Upper Gulf of California chano trawl fishery, for small vessels;
- Upper Gulf of California curvina purse seine fishery; and
- Upper Gulf of California sardine/curvina purse seine fishery, for both small and large vessels.
The decision to revoke the comparability findings is based on the Government of Mexico’s failure to demonstrate that it has implemented and enforced a regulatory program, comparable in effectiveness to that of the United States, to govern the incidental mortality and serious injury of the vaquita in commercial fisheries operating in the Upper Gulf of California.
Information for Importers
Shrimp, curvina, sierra, chano, anchovy, herrings, sardines, mackerels, croaker, and pilchard fish and fish products imported under certain harmonized tariff schedule codes from Mexico as the country of origin, must be accompanied on arrival to the United States by a Certification of Admissibility form to document that they did not originate from Upper Gulf of California gillnet fisheries, or from the other fisheries in the Upper Gulf for which the comparability findings were revoked. The form requires the signature of an authorized Mexican Government official.
NOAA Fisheries, in cooperation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is working to ensure affected seafood exporters and importers are aware of these restrictions, and to provide support for the trade community in their efforts to comply with this directive.
The United States will continue to work with Mexico to improve their regulatory program with the goal of eliminating gillnets, and other harmful gear, from the Upper Gulf of California, strengthening regional enforcement, and accelerating the development of "vaquita-safe" fishing.
- HTS Codes Prohibited Entry into the United States from Mexico Unless Accompanied by a U.S. Importer of Record Certification
- Certification of Admissibility, and Instructions for Certification of Admissibility Form
- Officials Designated by the Government of Mexico to Validate the U.S. Certification of Admissibility
- Federal Register Notice: NOAA Fisheries Revokes Comparability Findings -- Expands Import Restrictions
- Federal Register Notice: Court Ordered Implementation of Import Restrictions; Certification of Admissibility for Certain Fish Products from Mexico
- Marine Mammal Import Provisions Rule
- About the Vaquita
- US Customs and Border Protection
- Nation Identifications Under the Moratorium Protection Act