NOAA Establishes Marine Mammal Bycatch Criteria for U.S. Imports



WASHINGTON – Nations that export fish and fish products into the U.S. will now have to meet the same standards for protecting marine mammals that American fishermen follow.

NOAA Fisheries published its final ruling last week which forces trade partners to show that killing or injuring marine mammals incidental to fishing or bycatch in their export fisheries do not exceed U.S. standards.

“Fishing gear entanglements or accidental catch is a global threat to marine mammal populations,” said Eileen Sobeck, the assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “Establishing these bycatch criteria mark a significant step forward in the global conservation of marine mammals.”

The new rule takes effect January 1, and a five-year exemption period will give nations time to assess mammal stocks and estimate and lower their bycatch.

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