NFI speaks out on Mexican shrimp boycott

30 Mar 2017
Illegal fishing for totoaba is apparently the current primary threat to vaquita Photo: NOAA

Illegal fishing for totoaba is apparently the current primary threat to vaquita Photo: NOAA

The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) has spoken out on the Mexican shrimp boycott calling it a misguided attempt to draw attention to the issue which will put committed supporters of legal, sustainable shrimp harvesting at a disadvantage.

It maintains that its members are committed to sustainable fishing and support efforts to combat Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing in all its forms.

In a press statement, John Connelly, President, NFI, said: “We support specific, concentrated efforts to mitigate the impact of commercial fishing on the endangered vaquita. Efforts to ensure targeted exclusion of gill nets in legally protected areas are the types of responsible means of addressing this issue we continue to support.”

He pointed out that all Mexican shrimp harvesting vessels are required to be outfitted with real-time satellite monitoring systems to prevent entry into protected areas and the NFI supports and encourages robust enforcement of these restrictions by Mexican authorities. 

NFI says that the groups calling for a boycott of all Mexican Shrimp as a means to protect the species have themselves acknowledged that “illegal fishing for totoaba is the current primary threat to vaquita.”

The groups go on to point to shrimp vessels caught illegally harvesting as examples of the threat. Mr Connelly said this is despite fact that the boats in question were apprehended is actually an illustration that enforcement efforts with respect to the shrimp fleet work.

He added: “Are some cars on the highway speeding? Yes. But as a means of increasing compliance with posted speed limits is anyone suggesting all cars be banned? No.”

“If illegal fishing is negatively impacting efforts to protect vaquita then support for increased enforcement is what’s needed not a boycott on those already doing the right thing.”

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