Cablegate: Gom Response On Shrimp/Turtle Excluder Device Issue

Published: Fri 12 Feb 2010 09:49 PM
DE RUEHME #0510 0432150
R 122149Z FEB 10
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: GOM Response on Shrimp/Turtle Excluder Device Issue
1. (U) Summary: Ambassador Pascual met on shrimp/TEDs with the
Mexican Office of the Presidency and key GOM officials concerned
with trade and fisheries issues on February 5, with follow-up on
the margins of USTR Ron Kirk's visit to Mexico February 8-10 with
the Minister of Economy and President Calderon. The GOM has
developed what it called a comprehensive plan to bring Mexican TEDs
use up to U.S. standards, in accordance with Section 609. They
submitted it to the Department on February 12. President Calderon
told Ambassador and USTR Kirk that he is concerned as the USG is
about turtle preservation, and has challenged his own team to
demonstrate results. See action request para 6. End Summary.
2. (U) The Ambassador and econoffs met February 5 with Rafael
Fernandez de Castro of the Mexican Presidency and U/S Beatrice
Leycegui from Economia, as well as officials from CONAPESCA
(fisheries commission), PROFEPA (environmental regulator), and the
Foreign Secretariat (North America desk) to review pending action
under U.S. Section 609 in regard to use of turtle excluder devices
(TEDs) when fishing for shrimp, and to review Mexican actions on
improving their compliance with this requirement.
3. (U) The Ambassador noted that we were heading toward a
decertification decision; Mexico had received certification last
year based on assurances of improvement that did not take place,
and we have a statutory obligation to decertify, monitored by
Congress, the courts, and NGOs. The Mexican side indicated
understanding of this obligation, and accepted their responsibility
for not following through on their own obligations. They asserted,
however, that in the last three months they had begun serious
inspections (including the nighttime inspections suggested by the
State/NOAA inspection team after their inspection last November),
had jailed seven people and had 17 enforcement actions pending.
4. (U) Ambassador Pascual told the Mexican side that we would need
to have the plan right away and was candid with them that -- given
the history of plans, and lack of follow-through -- we needed to
have our experts review it immediately. The Mexican side agreed,
noting that they would like to send a technical team to Washington
to talk to key USG players as soon as possible. Additionally, they
asked the Ambassador to support a re-inspection in late March, with
a view toward avoiding decertification by May 1.
5. (SBU) The TEDs/shrimp issue also came up in USTR Kirk's
February 8-9 meetings with the Minister of Economy and President
Calderon. In both cases, the Mexican side acknowledged that it was
now their responsibility to demonstrate action. President Calderon
said that he had challenged his own team to demonstrate results,
noting that he was as concerned as the United States about the
environmental implications.
6. (U) Action Request: The GOM decided to submit its plan to
State and other agencies on February 12. We request that OES
review this material as soon as feasible, and provide an assessment
to post, including whether the actions outlined in the plan are
things that realistically could be implemented and take effect as
soon as the end of March, when Mexico has requested a
re-inspection. Please also advise dates convenient for meeting
with the Mexican technical team. Should assessment indicate that
de-certification is necessary, we would aim to alert Mexico to this
fact between the time the decision is signed and before it becomes
public, as well as to schedule a re-inspection as soon as
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