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Commercial Fishing And Endangered Species: The Shrimp-Turtle Case

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Chapter Summary

Domestically, the U.S. Endangered Species Act lists all sea turtle species as endangered or threatened. Under this act, the taking of sea turtles within the United States, its territorial sea, and high seas is prohibited. Ostensibly designed to complement the Endangered Species Act, Section 609 of U.S. Public Law 101-162 uses trade to provide additional protection. It instructs the Secretary of State to begin negotiating international agreements for the protection and conservation of sea turtles and prohibits the importation of shrimp harvested with commercial fishing technology that may adversely affect sea turtles. On October 8, 1996, four major exporters of shrimp and shrimp products- India, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Thailand-requested consultations under the World Trade Organization (WTO). The joint complaint concerned shrimp and shrimp products importation ban imposed by the United States under Section 609. The Shrimp-Turtle case is one of the most significant trade and environment cases in WTO history.

Keywords: commercial fishing; endangered species; sea turtle species; shrimp products; Shrimp-Turtle case; World Trade Organization (WTO)



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