Lawmakers in Mexico approve reforms to ban captivity of marine life
After two failed attempts, representatives of the political parties PVEM, PRI, Encuentro Social and Nueva Alianza endorsed the reform of Article 60 of the General Wildlife Law on marine mammals with 242 votes in favor and 190 against it.
Without debate or abandonment of the meeting room by deputies of Morena, PAN, PRD, and of the Citizen Movement, as happened at the sessions of April 6 and 20, the plenary approved the reform to prohibit the use of marine mammals of any species, such as whales, dolphins and manatees, in fixed or itinerant shows.
Conservation-oriented research, carried out by higher education institutions and in accordance with applicable regulations are exempt from the new reforms.
The approved reform states that the owners of marine mammals in captivity will have a period of 30 calendar days to complete an inventory, which must be delivered to the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat).
This inventory must prove its legal provenance, the registration number and any other information that the dependency establishes. In addition, it must contain DNA data and photographic record of the dorsal fin of each specimen. In the case of DNA registration, they will be granted a period of up to nine additional months.
The species inventoried may continue in captivity to fulfill the purposes for which they received authorization and the environmental regulations must be upheld to treat animals in a dignified and respectful manner under the law.
Reproduction in captivity of marine mammal species is prohibited, with the exception of that carried out for the recovery, reintroduction and repopulation of species considered as endangered.
The owners of marine mammals in captivity will have a period of 12 months to prepare and submit to the Semarnat a birth control protocol of the females that are part of their inventory.
The unit or dependency will have a period of three months to approve the protocol and the owners will have a period of three months after its approval for the implementation of the protocol.
Profepa will be responsible for verifying compliance with the prohibition of reproduction, capture, import, export, acquisition and introduction of new marine mammal specimens.
Semarnat will have a period of six months to adapt the corresponding regulations, as well as tighten the obligations contained and thereby ensure better living conditions for marine mammals that are in captivity.
It is important to point out that that the owners of species of marine mammals in captivity will have a period of six months to elaborate on the purpose of captivity and present to Semarnat a protocol of rehabilitation and reintroduction to its natural environment of those specimens that are considered candidates for reintroduction.
Marine mammals belonging to the federal government, state governments or accredited higher education institutions are excluded from this prohibition as long as it is for scientific research, therapeutic treatments and educational activities; In none of these cases will it be allowed to be used in shows, whether for profit or not.
Revisions to the laws emerged from an initiative of Javier Herrera Berunda, deputy of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (Partido Verde Ecologista), and after its approval, it was taken to the Senate of the Republic for analysis and eventual ratification.
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