IUCN members call on EU to reduce marine turtle bycatch by requiring the use of Turtle Excluder Devices by tropical wild-caught shrimp fisheries exporting to the EU market
Posted on 18 November 2020
Six of the seven marine turtle species are categorised as Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The sponsors of Motion are grateful to all IUCN members who responded to threat posed by bycatch on survival of marine turtles by adopting this landmark motion.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) members have strongly endorsed the motion "Reducing marine turtle bycatch: the important role of regulatory mechanisms in the global roll-out of Turtle Excluder Devices". The motion was adopted by the IUCN World Congress on 4 November, meaning it now becomes a formal IUCN resolution. It sends a strong message to the European Union about how high the issue lies on the international community’s agenda. To date the European Union, the biggest seafood market in the world, does not require the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) for imported wild-caught tropical shrimps, potentially causing the bycatch of tens of thousands of marine turtles a year. Such legislation has been in place in the US since 1989, hence the EU represents an alternative market for countries that are not allowed to export to the US due to their fisheries' impacts on marine turtle populations. It is time for the European Union to ensure that effective mitigation measures to reduce marine turtle bycatch, such as TEDs, are adopted by countries exporting tropical trawl-caught shrimps into the European market. “The IUCN vote sends a strong signal to the European Commission and its Member States to start the development of a European import regulation to ensure that TEDs are efficiently implemented and used in tropical shrimp trawls fisheries that export to the EU. In parallel the European Commission and EU Member States should work with exporting countries to support the implementation of TEDs, including the provision of technical capacity and/or financial support,” says Margaret Kinnaird, WWF wildlife Lead. A majority of States supported the call for European action with 96 government bodies voted in favour of the resolution, 6 opposing, and 40 abstaining from voting. 572 out of 661 civil society organisations voted in favour of the resolution.
Six of the seven marine turtle species are categorised as Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The sponsors of Motion are grateful to all IUCN members who responded to threat posed by bycatch on survival of marine turtles by adopting this landmark motion. WWF is calling on the European Commission to commit to develop an import regulation requiring the implementation of Turtle Excluder Devices by countries exporting wild-caught tropical shrimp to the European market as soon as possible.
Closeup portrait of a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) swimming near water surface.