[Federal Register: October 27, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 207)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
[Public Notice 3141]
Determination by the Department of State Regarding Shrimp Imports
From the Spencer Gulf in Southern Australia
SUMMARY: The Department of State has determined that the harvesting of
shrimp in the Spencer Gulf of southern Australia does not pose a threat
of the incidental taking of sea turtles. Accordingly, the prohibitions
on the importation of shrimp set forth in Section 609 of Public Law
101-162 do not apply to shrimp harvested in the Spencer Gulf.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 27, 1999.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. David Hogan, Office of Marine
Conservation, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and
Scientific Affairs, Department of State, Washington DC, telephone
number (202) 647-2335.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 609 of Public Law 101-162 (``Section
609'') provides that shrimp harvested with commercial fishing
technology that may adversely affect certain species of sea turtles may
not be imported into the United States. This import prohibition does
not apply to certain categories of shrimp harvested in ways that do not
harm sea turtle species.
Following the publication by the Department of State of a notice in
the Federal Register on July 8, 1999 (Public Notice 3086, 64 FR 36946),
which revised the guidelines used by the Department in implementing
Section 609, the relevant provisions of those guidelines specify that:
``B. Shrimp Harvested in a Manner Not Harmful to Sea Turtles
The Department of State has determined that the import prohibitions
imposed pursuant to Section 609 do not apply to shrimp or products of
shrimp harvested under the following conditions, since such harvesting
does not adversely affect sea turtle species:
a. Shrimp harvested in an aquaculture facility in which the shrimp
spend at least 30 days in a pond prior to being harvested.
b. Shrimp harvested by commercial shrimp trawl vessels using TEDs
comparable in effectiveness to those required in the United States.
c. Shrimp harvested exclusively by means that do not involve the
retrieval of fishing nets by mechanical devices, such as winches,
pulleys, power blocks or other devices providing mechanical advantage,
or by vessels using gear that, in accordance with the U.S. program
described above, would not require TEDs.
d. Shrimp harvested in any other manner or under any other
circumstances that the Department of State may determine, following
consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service, does not pose
a threat of the incidental taking of sea turtles. The Department of
State shall publish any such determinations in the Federal Register and
shall notify affected foreign governments and other interested parties
directly.'' (emphasis added.)
The Department of State hereby determines, following consultation
with the National Marine Fisheries Service, that the harvesting of
shrimp in the Spencer Gulf in southern Australia does not pose a threat
of the incidental taking of sea turtles.
In requesting such a determination, the Government of Australia
submitted information, including a report compiled by the South
Australian Research and Development Institute, which contained
evidence, described below, that commercial shrimp trawling operations
in the Spencer Gulf do not pose a threat to sea turtles. This
information, which was reviewed by the Office of Marine Conservation of
the Department of State and the Office of Protected Resources of the
National Marine Fisheries Service, includes a wide range of scientific,
biological and commercial data.
In particular, the information submitted by the Government of
Australia reflects diverse sources of data from long-term surveys--
fishery dependent and independent observer records, logbooks and
records of sea turtle strandings. The data on sea turtle distribution
and migrations are based on the credible research of scientists. The
lack of nesting sites along the entire coast of southern Australia, as
well as the near absence of stranded sea turtles, near-shore sea turtle
sightings, and trawl-captured sea turtles since 1968 indicate that sea
turtle abundance in the area is extremely low.
Accordingly, shrimp harvested in the Spencer Gulf are not subject
to the import prohibitions imposed pursuant to Section 609. The
Department of State has notified the U.S. Customs Service and other
interested parties of this determination.
Dated: October 20, 1999.
R. Tucker Scully,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans, Fisheries and Space.
[FR Doc. 99-28089 Filed 10-26-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-09-P