NMFS Approves Importing of Mexican Yellowfin Tuna under MMPA
On June 16, 2010, the United States National Marine Fisheries Service published Federal Register notice that it has granted a request for an affirmative finding to the Government of Mexico under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This affirmative finding will allow yellowfin tuna harvested in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean in compliance with the International Dolphin Conservation Program by Mexican-flag purse seine vessels or purse seine vessels operating under Mexican jurisdiction to be imported into the United States. The affirmative finding was based on review of documentary evidence submitted by the Government of Mexico and obtained from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the U.S. Department of State.
The affirmative finding is effective from April 1, 2010, through March 31, 2015, subject to annual review by NMFS.
The MMPA allows the entry into the United States of yellowfin tuna harvested by purse seine vessels in the ETP under certain conditions. If requested by the harvesting nation, the Assistant Administrator will determine whether to make an affirmative finding based upon documentary evidence provided by the government of the harvesting nation, the IATTC, or the Department of State.
The affirmative finding process requires that the harvesting nation is meeting its obligations under the IDCP and obligations of membership in the IATTC. Every 5 years, the government of the harvesting nation must request an affirmative finding and submit the required documentary
evidence directly to the Assistant Administrator. On an annual basis, NMFS will review the affirmative finding and determine whether the harvesting nation continues to meet the requirements. A nation may provide information related to compliance with IDCP and IATTC measures directly to NMFS on an annual basis or may authorize the IATTC to release the information to NMFS to annually renew an affirmative finding determination without an application from the harvesting nation.
An affirmative finding will be terminated, in consultation with the Secretary of State, if the Assistant Administrator determines that the requirements of 50 CFR 216.24(f) are no longer being met or that a nation is consistently failing to take enforcement actions on violations, thereby diminishing the effectiveness of the IDCP.
Mexico's affirmative finding will remain valid through March 31, 2015, subject to subsequent annual reviews by NMFS.
Click here to read NMFS' Federal Register notice of the permit