Mexican fishers calling U.S. import ban misguided


Mexican shrimpers say the U.S. ban punishes them unfairly. (Photo by Octavio Aburto)

Just a few years ago, fishers from the Mexican town of San Felipe on the upper Gulf of California could sell their coveted blue and brown shrimp for upwards of US$11 per kilo. Today, they say, the shrimp fetch half that. Urgent efforts to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise led in March to a U.S. ban on fish and seafood caught in the upper gulf, closing the lucrative U.S. market to the region’s shrimp fishers and forcing them to sell elsewhere. The sanctions are intended to make Mexico enforce measures ostensibly protecting the endangered mammal, whose population has plummeted to around 10. But critics say the ban simply punishes those who fish legally, while doing nothing to stop those who don’t. “Our government has not taken action,” says Anabel Espinoza, head of a San Felipe fishing cooperative. “Now we are suffering.” The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS... [Log in to read more]

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