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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2004 > December
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 9, 2004


Department of State Announces Change in Policy Regarding Documentation for Importation of Shrimp to Ensure Sea Turtle Protection

The U.S. Department of State, with Customs and Border Protection, today announces a change in policy regarding the importation of shrimp and shrimp products into the United States covered under the provisions of Section 609 of Public Law 101-162. In order to avoid instances of fraudulent documents from uncertified countries, DS-2031 documents can no longer be copies or faxes of the original.

Section 609 prohibits imports of shrimp harvested in ways that are harmful to sea turtles. This import prohibition does not apply where the President certifies to Congress not later than May 1 of each year either: (1) that the harvesting nation has adopted a program governing the incidental capture of sea turtles in its commercial shrimp fishery comparable to the program in effect in the United States; or (2) that the fishing environment in the harvesting nation does not pose a threat of the incidental taking of sea turtles. The President has delegated the authority to make this certification to the Department of State.

Importation of all shrimp and shrimp products associated with the Harmonized Tariff Schedule codes (0306.13.00, 0306.23.00, 1605.20.05, and 1605.20.10) should be accompanied by a properly executed and completed DS-2031 form. For shrimp harvested in certified nations, only the exporter must certify that the shrimp was harvested in the manner indicated on the form. Because shrimp is occasionally sent to a third country for processing and several exports of shrimp could conceivably be bundled for more efficient shipping, the required DS-2031 forms may be copies and/or faxes, provided they are legible and that the Customs agent is reasonably satisfied that the total volume of the shipment is covered by the forms presented, with corresponding indicated weights.

For shrimp harvested in uncertified nations, both the exporter and a government official in the harvesting nation must certify (in boxes 8 and 9 of the DS-2031, respectively) that the product was harvested in a manner listed as one of the accepted exemptions to the import prohibition (generally aquaculture or shrimp caught without the benefit of mechanical means). These signatures should be originals. In order to safeguard against fraud, the Department of State will undertake regular examinations of the procedures that governments of uncertified nations have put in place for verifying the accurate completion of the DS-2031 forms. If, upon departmental review, such governments do not demonstrate that they have adequate procedures in place, the Department will instruct Customs not to permit the importation of shrimp harvested in that nation.

Shipments of shrimp that arrive in the United States without the DS-2031 form or without a properly completed form may be denied entry at the discretion of Customs, but should not be seized. Any shipment denied entry under Section 609 should be allowed to be re-exported to another country. For more information, please contact James Story, Department of State, Office of Marine Conservation, (202) 647-2335.

2004/1239


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