All sea turtles that occur in US waters are listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
A Georgia fisherman invents the earliest Turtle Excluder Device (TED).
Shrimping is identified as a major cause of mortality for sea turtles.
The US issues regulations, pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, requiring US shrimpers to use TEDs on their vessels.
The US Congress enacts Public Law 101-162, section 609, (the Turtle-Shrimp Law) requiring wild shrimp imported into the US to be caught with the use of TEDs or methods achieving comparable levels of protection.
The Sea Turtle Restoration Project, leading a coalition of environmental and animal welfare organizations, files a suit in Federal Court, in response to the US issuing guidelines that incorrectly limited the application of the Turtle-Shrimp Law to only countries in the wider Caribbean/western Atlantic region. The jurisdiction of the case is later moved to the Court of International Trade.
STRP sends a letter to the major shrimp importing nations alerting them to the lawsuit and probable ramifications of the outcome, in order to give these countries fair warning and adequate time to begin developing TED programs.
STRP meets with the Ecuadorian fisheries minister to discuss the use and transfer of TED technology.
STRP develops an educational video on the benefits and need for TED use. This video is produced in conjunction with the United Nations Environmental Program. This video is then distributed free of charge internationally, including at CITES meetings.
STRP begins working with Costa Rican shrimp fishers on the proper installation and use of Turtle Excluder Devices.
STRP funds a Mexican graduate student to learn about the proper use and installation of TEDs from the inventor of the device, a Georgia fisherman, with the intention of the transfer of the technology to Mexico.
STRP wins its landmark lawsuit at the Court of International Trade, compelling the US to require that all wild shrimp imported into the US is caught through the use of Turtle Excluder Devices or comparable methods.
STRP places an advertisement in the New York Times urging President Clinton to protect the Turtle-Shrimp Law in the face of the predicted World Trade Organization threat.
The US enforces the Turtle-Shrimp Law, but issues faulty regulations allowing for the laundering of shrimp through a shipment-by-shipment method.
STRP wins a CIT ruling restricting the import of shrimp on a shipment-by-shipment basis.
Thailand, Pakistan, Malaysia, and India begin a challenge of the Turtle-Shrimp Law at the World Trade Organization.
STRP, given its expertise in this issue, requests to be appointed to the team defending the US law. STRP, even though it has legal standing on this issue in the United States, is denied the opportunity to formally participate in the process.
The US floats the idea of a multilateral agreement on sea turtle protection, but the complaining nations are not interested.
The WTO appoints a dispute panel to hear the challenge to the provision of the Endangered Species Act.
STRP places ads in the New York Times, Washington Post, and International Herald Tribune alerting the public to the threat of the WTO to the Endangered Species Act, democracy, and sovereignty.
STRP exposes the dispute panel's inherent conflict of interest, since the panelists come from countries previously embargoed by the US (under the Turtle-Shrimp Law) or have signed on as interested parties in the dispute.
STRP, partnering with the Earth Justice Legal Defense Fund, coordinates a statement from 261 scientists from 31 nations who argue that science, and not trade, should be the basis for decisions related to the international protection of endangered species. This statement is submitted to the WTO through the US Trade Representative.
STRP helps one of the appointed scientific advisors in gathering and developing strong and credible international scientific information as to why the US law should remain in effect. Unfortunately, the WTO panel's later decision reflects an utter disregard for science when it interferes with the overall goal of increasing trade.
The WTO dispute panel issues an interim ruling against the Turtle-Shrimp Law.
STRP posts an analysis of the secret interim ruling on the internet in order to better serve the public interest and to increase the accountability of the WTO.
The WTO panel issues its final ruling to the parties in the dispute, ruling against the Turtle-Shrimp Law. This document is delayed by the WTO from public review or scrutiny.
STRP joins other national environmental groups in sending a letter to President Clinton urging him to appeal the WTO ruling, protect the existing law, negotiate multilateral environmental agreements, and reform the WTO.
STRP joins other national environmental and public interest groups in a New York Times ad publicly urging President Clinton to meet the above demands.
STRP releases the text of the "secret" final ruling to the public on its website. STRP believes that this information should not be confidential since it directly affects US laws and the democratic process.
STRP convinces Working Assets Long Distance to highlight the WTO case to its members, resulting in approximately 30,000 letters and phone calls to President Clinton in a four week period urging him to defy the WTO ruling by refusing to change our law or pay financial reparations.
STRP stages a protest at the National Oceans Conference, interrupts Vice President Gore's press conference, and places an ad in the New York Time urging the US to get out of the WTO.
The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the CIT ruling, based purely on procedural grounds. The court expresses no opinion on the merits of the case.
A coalition of leading environmental groups, including STRP, sends a letter to the President urging him not to implement a shipment-by-shipment importation standard because of the loopholes it will create in protecting sea turtles.
STRP publishes Slain by Trade, a grassroots booklet on the WTO/turtle issue as a resource for activists, the media, and key decision makers.
The US, in response to public pressure, agrees to appeal the WTO ruling.
The US State Department re-issues the faulty regulations allowing for an importation of shrimp on a shipment-by-shipment basis.
STRP files a lawsuit seeking to again restrict the import of shrimp by this method.
The WTO Appeals Body rules against the US law, which will result in weakened sea turtle protection globally.
The US says that it will comply with the WTO ruling.
The US Court of International Trade issues a preliminary ruling in favor of STRP, finding that the August 1998 State Department guidelines violate the face of the law.
STRP publishes Dead Sea Turtles are Good for the Global Economy, a grassroots booklet.
STRP helps with the turtle contigent at the Battle of Seattle, which brough the issue of economic globalization to the American public.
The US Court of International Trade enters final judgment, granting STRP declaratory relief on our claims. While on the one hand the court affirms "without reservation that the plaintiffs have prevailed on the threshold issue" of whether respondents' shipment-by-shipment policy violates Section 609 on its face, it claims that petitioners had failed to present sufficient "evidence" to require the court to set aside respondents' illegal regulations.
A divided panel of the Federal Circuit reverses the CIT's judgment that the government's decision to permit the importation of TED-caught shrimp from uncertified nations violates Section 609, and affirms the CIT's denial of injunctive relief.
STRP and partners organization formally petition the US Supreme Court to hear the sea turtle case.