U.S. regulates shrimp imports in effort to protect sea turtles

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A 6- month- old green sea turtle is cleaned from tar after an oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea, at Israel’s Sea Turtle Rescue Center, in Michmoret, Israel, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Only six sea turtles were rescued and survived after a disastrous oil spill that has blackened most of the country’s shoreline and reached beaches of neighboring Lebanon. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Each year, the U.S. Department of State certifies nations to import wild-caught shrimp into the U.S. in the efforts to help protect sea turtles.

But, what does catching shrimp have to do with saving sea turtles?

Sometimes, while fisheries begin to harvest shrimp, they accidentally take sea turtles in the trawls, according to a press release.

“Six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles are listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act,” stated the press release.

This year, the Department of State certified 35 nations, one economy and 12 fisheries to import into the U.S.

Annual certifications are based in part on overseas verification visits by a team composed of State Department and National Marine Fisheries Service representatives, according to the website.

Nations, economies, and fisheries that weren’t granted the certification, can only import shrimp harvested from aquaculture.

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