CBD Petitions NMFS for By-catch Rulemaking
On December 15, 2008, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service announced receipt of a petition for rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act. The Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network, non-governmental organizations, have petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce and other relevant Departments to initiate rulemaking to ban importation of commercial fish or products from fish that have been caught with commercial fishing technology that results in incidental mortality or serious injury of marine mammals in excess of United States standards.
According to NMFS, the Service
"received the petition on March 5, 2008. The petition asserts
that the Secretaries of Commerce and other relevant federal Departments
are required to obtain reasonable proof from countries exporting
swordfish and swordfish products to the U.S. regarding the effects of
their commercial swordfish fishing technology on marine
mammals. The petition requests that the Secretary of the Treasury ban
imports of swordfish from any and all countries that have not satisfied
the MMPA section 101(a)(2) requirement. As support for the need for
this action, the petition alleges potential deficiencies in the
fishing, exporting, and other related practices of some nations that
export swordfish to the United States without articulating any specific
'U.S. standards' that have been exceeded by other nations.
NMFS requests that it receive public comment on the petition by January 29, 2009.
Click here to read NMFS notice
The petition fails to define 'United States standards;' rather,
it describes marine mammal protection programs that the United States
has implemented. NMFS will consider public comments received in
determining whether to proceed with the request by Center for
Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network. In addition
to general comments on the petition, NMFS specifically requests
comments on how to define 'United States standards' as referenced in
MMPA section 101(a)(2)."
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