Mexico Fails to Meet UMSCA’s Fishing ObligationsBy Sofía Hanna | Fri, 07/02/2021 - 17:01
Mexico has failed to comply with the obligations it agreed to in the USMCA regarding oceans and fishing, reports Oceana. The country’s non-compliance has led to sanctions that put an economic burden on those who depend on these activities.
The USMCA includes a series of measures regarding oceans and fishing that give Mexico a series of obligations, including the development of measures to encourage sustainability and reduce illegal fishing and the overexploitation of fisheries. The treaty also urges Mexico to protected endangered species, including the vaquita porpoise and marine turtles. But a report from NGO Oceana, states that Mexico has failed to comply with these obligations.
This failure has led to trade sanctions, including losing its shrimp export certification to the US. These sanctions are leading to economic loss and impacting families that depend on fishing activities. Moreover, they are also putting endangered marine animals at risk. Oceana’s report estimates that up to 50 percent of Mexico’s total fishing product could have been caught illegally.
However, the report states that this information might be inaccurate as, while Mexico has a Satellite Monitoring System for Fishing Vessels (SISMEP), the information obtained from this system is not easily accessible. Mexico also lacks a traceability standard that allows the tracking of marine animals from their capture until they are delivered to the customer. Traceability is relevant for the transparency of the fishing sector. It also enables consumers to know the origin of the food they buy, thus closing the doors to the commercialization of fish caught illegally.
Oceana warns that if Mexico fails to take urgent measures to prevent the problem from worsening, the country could lose out on future opportunities offered by the USMCA. "In order to take full advantage of the economic benefits of this treaty, a traceability standard is urgently needed to provide information on the value chain that fishing products go through," said Mariana Aziz, Director of Transparency Campaigns for Oceana in Mexico. Aziz also warned that if Mexico fails to reach the established objectives or does not comply with its commitments, its commercial partners could take action in this regard. Regarding this matter, the Mexican government had previously said that it recognizes Chapter 24 of the USMCA and the importance of conserving, protecting and improving the environment with the sustainable use and management of natural resources.