Turtle case puts USMCA complaints regime to test


Deaths of North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles in waters off the western coast of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur have alarmed conservationists. (Photo by Alex Otero, CBD)

Conservation groups have filed a petition under the successor accord to the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), alleging Mexico has failed to enforce protections for the endangered North Pacific loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). The case could test whether the citizen-complaint process of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which took effect last July, is more effective than Nafta’s was. The U.S.-based Center for Biological Diversity and the Mexican Center for Environmental Law allege Mexico has failed to enforce restrictions designed to prevent loggerheads’ deaths due mainly to entanglement in fishing gear. Their December petition to the Canada-based Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), which—as it had for Nafta—oversees environmental cooperation under the trade accord, is the first filed under the USMCA. The petition is aimed specifically at loggerheads in the vast Gulf of Ulloa on the state of Baja California Sur’s western coast... [Log in to read more]

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