TED vs Trade
According to an estimate of US-based National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), around 48,000 turtles are caught every year on shrimp trawlers in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. All the five species of sea turtles including Olive Ridley are listed in the Appendix I of Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which prohibits trade in turtle products by the signatory countries.
It is also included in the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in red list and also in the Appendix I and II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory species of Wild Animals. Though none of these institutions have been successful in protecting Olive turtles, the US has taken measures to conserve Olive turtles around the world. Turtle expert Sali Jayne Bache reveals that in the past couple of years, there have been three significant international policy developments concerning the problem of sea turtle by catch in shrimp and prawn trawls. The first of these is the World Trade Organisation (WTO) decision that the US shrimp embargo law, whereby overseas traders are subjected to the same restrictions that apply to domestic fisheries. The second is the move by major non-governmental organisation (NGOs) to establish a labeling programme for turtle friendly shrimp, similar to the successful dolphins safe tuna fish. Thirdly, an inter-American treaty has emerged, which aims to generate awareness to minimise the impacts of fishing upon marine turtles.
In March 1998, the US slapped a ban on the import of shrimp from India on the grounds that trawlers do not use TEDs. Priyambada Hejmadi, the eminent scientist, successfully argued India's case at WTO. The argument was that India had taken concrete steps to conserve the turtles. How far it is true now?
"The US has special interest because five species of sea turtles regularly spend part of their live in US coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico,' says Hejmadi. All the five species of turtles have included in US state departments endangered lists.
The US is one of the two largest consumers of shrimp products in the world and its shrimp consumption is the major cause of the turtle deaths. Apart from India, there is an embargo on Surinam's shrimp by the US since May 1993, due to non-compliance of TEDs. The use of TEDs in Surinam waters has been mandatory since 1992, but enforcement of the law is missing. The top shrimp exporters to the US are India, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, Malaysia, Korea and Japan.
- Economic report on Africa 2023: building Africa’s resilience to global economic shocks
- The European biomass puzzle: Challenges, opportunities and trade-offs around biomass production and use in the EU
- Analysis of wildlife court cases in Cameroon: Jan 2010 – Dec 2022
- Convergence of wildlife crime with other forms of organised crime: a 2023 review
- Togo economic update: unlocking Togo’s potential
- World energy outlook 2023