The Fisheries Law (Ley de Pesca) (1992, as amended in 2001) and the Regulation to the Fisheries Law (Reglamento de la Ley de Pesca) (1999, as amended in 2004) are the main legislative documents governing the conservation, preservation, exploitation and management of all aquatic flora and fauna. The Fisheries Law has been amended in 2001 and the Regulation has been amended in 2004. In addition, various Official Mexican Standards (Normas Oficiales Mexicanas, NOMs) facilitate the implementation of the Fisheries Law by detailing requirements as to the conduct of activities within and development of fisheries and aquaculture. Generally, NOMs are specific measures and standards required by law, which are proposed by the various administrative Secretariats in their corresponding area of jurisdiction and issued by the Federal Executive.
Since 2001, the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadaría, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación, SAGARPA) is in charge of administering the fisheries and aquaculture legislation. According to the Law, tasks and responsibilities of SAGARPA include - inter alia - the designation of areas suitable for aquaculture, regulation of the introduction of species and the promotion of aquaculture development (see also Reglamento, Título tercero, Capítulo I). SAGARPA consists of numerous offices and administrative entities. An overview of its structure can be found in its by-laws (Reglamento Interior de la Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación).
The National Commission on Aquaculture and Fisheries (Comisión Nacional de Acuacultura y Pesca, CONAPESCA), being an administrative entity of SAGARPA, was created in 2001 and is responsible for management, coordination and policy development regarding the sustainable use and exploitation of fisheries and aquatic resources. The Commission has the support of the National Fisheries Institute (Instituto Nacional de Pesca, INP), also being an administrative entity of SAGARPA, which conducts scientific and technological investigations and gives advice on the preservation, restocking, promotion, cultivation and developing of aquatic species. Through the INP, a new instrument for fisheries management has been developed, the National Fisheries Chart (Carta Nacional Pesquera), which is an annually updated inventory and summary of all fisheries resources in federal water bodies.
SAGARPA has developed the Sectoral Program for Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food 2001-2006 (Programa Sectorial de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural Pesca y Alimentación), which addresses - inter alia - the sustainable exploitation of fishery and aquaculture resources and the promotion of profitability, both in economic and social terms, of the fishery and aquaculture sector. The program also seeks to update and promote the legal measures applicable to fish and aquaculture activities.
Concession: Commercial aquaculture (acuacultura comercial), carried out with the aim of obtaining economic benefits, requires a concession, which may be granted to Mexican nationals and foreigners, or to Mexican entities (Reglamento, Título tercero, Capítulo II). The Concession may be granted for a maximum period of 50 years. The application for a concession should contain a technical and economic study, which should provide information regarding:
Generally, the concession should be issued within a period of 45 days. The Law and the Regulations address in detail the procedures to be followed when an extension of the concession is required. The concession may be transferred and the holder may be substituted after authorization of CONAPESCA.
The concession holder has the following obligations:
Permit: A permit is required for exploratory aquaculture (acuacultura de fomento), which is carried out with the aim of study, scientific research, experimentation and exploration, and which is oriented at the development of biotechnology or any other type of innovative technology in any phase of cultivation of species of aquatic flora and fauna (Reglamento, Título tercero, Capítulo III). A permit may be granted to Mexican and foreign scientists, technical experts and research institutes. A permit may be granted to persons or establishments that cultivate, market or process aquaculture products as long as they fulfil the requirements established for research institutes. In addition, the permit may establish limitations and conditions to the sale of the aquaculture products. The Regulation requires a minimum of 5 percent of the profits to be used for the development of research activities. Permits can be granted for a maximum period of four years.
Applicants are required to demonstrate and prove their scientific and technical ability. The application for a permit should be accompanied by a program or project of study or scientific research, which should provide information regarding:
Authorization: An authorization is required for aquaculture for educational purposes (acuacultura didáctica), the aims of which are training and instruction of those engaged in aquaculture (Reglamento, Título tercero, Capítulo IV). Authorizations may be granted only to Mexican nationals and entities. The holder of an authorization is allowed to sell the obtained aquaculture products, as long as the profits are principally used for the development of training and instruction activities. The Law and the Regulation do not specify a maximum period for which an authorization can be issued.
The application for an authorization should be accompanied by a detailed description of the educational programme, including the logistics, and should provide information regarding:
The collection of reproductive species, larva, post larva, juveniles, eggs, seeds or fingerlings for the purpose of aquaculture or research requires an authorization, too. (Reglamento, Título segundo, Capítulo II, Sección quinta). Again, an authorization may be granted only to Mexican nationals and entities. The application for an authorization should provide information regarding:
In addition, the applicant should furnish documentation demonstrating his financial ability. In case of collection for aquaculture purposes, the applicant should also mention the name and location of the fish farm and, where applicable, the number and date of the concession.
The authorization should be issued within a period of 21 days and is not transferable. The holder of the authorization may have a duty to undertake repopulation activities according to the terms and conditions established by CONAPESCA. The issuance of the authorization depends on the information furnished by the National Fisheries Institute regarding the number of species, zones and periods for collection. No authorization will be issued when there is a conservation risk. In case of collection of living aquatic organisms coming from natural populations for the purpose of aquaculture, the Regulations stipulates that the applicable rules on collection, acclimatization, preservation, transport and seed should be observed.
Generally, all concessions, permits and authorizations are registered in the National Fishery Registry (Registro Nacional de Pesca), kept by CONAPESCA. Concessions, permits and authorizations end through expiry, revocation, being void or termination in the cases specified by the Law and the Regulation. The Law and the Regulation also establish detailed provisions on inspection, offences and sanctions. The latter include the imposition of fines, seizure of aquaculture products, suspension or revocation of concessions, permits and authorizations and the permanent or temporary closure of facilities that violate certain provisions. Appeals may be filed according to the Law on Administrative Procedure (Ley Federal de Procedimiento Administrativo) (1994).
Article 27 of the Constitution also establishes inalienable government ownership over lands, waters and natural resources that make up federal public property. These include - inter alia - the federal maritime zone (coastal zone), rivers, currents, lakes and lagoons. The General Law of National Property (Ley General de Bienes Nacionales) (1982) establishes a general regime for granting land use rights over public lands. The management and development of the coastal zone, which extends 20 meters from the high tide line, is regulated in the Regulation for the use and exploitation of the territorial sea, navigable waters, beaches, federal maritime zones and lands gained from the sea (Reglamento para el uso y aprovechamiento del mar territorial, vías navegables, playas, zona federal marítimo terrestre y terrenos ganados al mar) (1991). All use, development and exploitation of the federal coastal zone and beaches, other than for the enjoyment of the general public and the carrying out of specifically permitted temporary operations must be authorized. Concession and permit holders who have been granted rights to use federal coastlands are registered in a national registry. According to the Regulation, a permit or concession is not required for the establishment of canals and pipelines for the transport of water by cooperatives, ejidos, comunidades and private persons carrying out aquaculture activities. The establishment of such canals and pipelines, however, may not obstruct the free passage to the coastal zone.
The National Water Law (Ley Nacional de Aguas) (1992) establishes a comprehensive legal regime for the planning, development and management of surface and groundwater resources. The Law is administered by the National Water Commission (Comisión Nacional del Agua, CNA), which is an autonomous entity falling under the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, SEMARNAT), being the responsible authority for all environmental issues under federal jurisdiction. The Law specifies fish farming as a production activity for which water resources may be used after a concession has been obtained from the CNA. Concessions can be granted for periods up to 50 years. According to the Law, water concessions are not required for farming operations using floating systems. The Law provides for a Public Registry of Water Rights (Registro Publico de Derechos del Agua), kept by the CNA, which contains an overview of all issued water concessions (and discharge permits, see below). The Law stipulates that the CNA, in cooperation with SAGARPA, should facilitate the development of farming and the issuance of the necessary water concessions. It should also support, at the request of interested parties, the use of federal water infrastructure for farming provided it is compatible with other uses, provided watercourses are not diverted and provided that water quality, navigation, other permissible uses, and the rights of third parties are not affected. The Law is implemented by the Regulation to the National Water Law (Reglamento de la Ley de Aguas Nacionales) (1994, as amended in 1997).
Finally, the Environmental Law provides for the development of ecological zoning plans (ordenamientos ecológicos). There are four types of ecological zoning plans: national, regional, local and marine. The national ecological zoning plan is issued by SEMARNAT, while regional and local ecological zoning plans are issued respectively by state governments and municipal authorities. Marine ecological zoning plans are also issued by SEMARNAT and must be consistent with the national, regional and local zoning plans. The marine ecological zoning plans should determine the activities that may be carried out in the designated areas, as well as guidelines, strategies and other provisions for the preservation, protection and sustainable exploitation of natural resources.
The EIA process starts with submission of a preventive report if there are Official Mexican Standards (NOMs) or other provisions that regulate emissions, discharges, natural resources exploitation and, in general, the environmental impacts caused by the works or activities. A preventive report is also required if the works or activities involved are expressly provided by an urban development partial plan or an ecological zoning plan, or in case of facilities located inside authorized industrial parks. The contents of the preventive report are specified in the Regulation. Upon the preventive report being submitted and analyzed, SEMARNAT determines, within twenty days, whether an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is to be submitted or whether the preventive report is sufficient.
According to the Regulation, an EIS can be regional or particular. A regional EIS is to be filed - inter alia - in the case of industrial and aquaculture parks and aquaculture farms of more than 500 ha. A regional EIS must provide information regarding:
In assessing the EIS, SEMARNAT must consider the possible effects of the work or activity on the respective ecosystems, taking into account all the elements therein and not only the resources that may be used or affected. It must also consider the use of natural resources in respect of the functional integrity and load capacities of the ecosystems forming part of the resources for undefined periods, as well as any prevention, mitigation or other measures proposed voluntarily by the applicant to avoid or minimize the negative effects on the environment. Upon assessing the EIS, SEMARNAT may authorize the work or activity, upon conditions or not, or deny the requested authorization. SEMARNAT must issue its ruling within sixty days following the receipt of the EIS. Exceptionally, this period may be extended for up to sixty additional days.
The Federal Attorney General for Environmental Protection (Procaduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente, PROFEPA), established as an autonomous entity under SEMARNAT, is generally responsible for enforcing environmental laws, regulations and environmental NOMs. The PROFEPA performs audits and inspections and oversees compliance to the rules regarding EIA.
Finally, all Mexican states have enacted their own environmental legislation and enacted an entity charged with the administration of such laws. According to the Environmental Law, states have the responsibility - inter alia - to assess the environmental impact of those works and activities, in coordination with corresponding municipalities that are not expressly reserved to the federal government.
Individuals and legal entities, including aquaculture facilities, must obtain a discharge permit from the National Water Commission (CNA) for any continuous, intermittent or unforeseen wastewater discharges into receiving water bodies (including marine waters). In addition to the standards in the applicable NOMs, the CNA may spell out specific discharge standards. In doing so, the CNA is required to take into account the applicable NOMs, its own water classification system, third party rights to develop or use the receiving body of water, the restrictions imposed under the National Water Plan (Plan Nacional de Aguas) and other public interest or general health related issues.
According to the Regulation, the permit holder has the following obligations:
The National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad, CONABIO) is an inter-secretarial commission, created in 1992, made up of representatives from - inter alia - SAGARPA and SEMARNAT. CONABIO generally coordinates the actions and studies related to the knowledge and preservation of biological species and promotes and develops scientific research activities for the exploration, study, protection, and use of biological resources.
The Intersecretarial Commission on Biosafety and GMOs (Comisión Intersecretarial de Bioseguridad y Organismos Genéticamente Modificados, CIBIOGEM), created in 2002, is also made up of representatives from - inter alia - SAGARPA and SEMARNAT. CIBIOGEM aims to coordinate federal policies regarding biosafety and the production, import, export, movement, propagation, liberation, consumption and use of GMOs. Reportedly, CIBIOGEM has developed a list of priority issues, which includes the genetic transformation of fish.
In addition, the Regulation addresses the certification and registration of quarantine establishments. It prescribes in detail the application procedure to be followed. The authorization to operate a quarantine establishment should be issued within a period of 21 days.
The following NOMs, which can be complex and may be subject to frequent revision, have been issued on aquatic health:
Due to the number of laws and agencies that regulate chemical substances, an Inter-Secretarial Commission for the Control of the Processing and Use of Pesticides, Fertilizers and Toxic Substances (Comisión Intersecretarial para el Control del Proceso y Uso de Plaguicidas, Fertilizantes y Sustancias Tóxicas, CICOPLAFEST) was created in 1987. CICOPLAFEST, which is made up of representatives from - inter alia - SAGARPA, SEMARNAT and SSA, administers among other things a uniform procedure for all licensing, registration and permitting of any use, development, manufacture, distribution, storage, commercialization, export or import of chemical substances.
As to aquaculture, as mentioned above, SAGARPA has the authority to establish the drugs, feeds, hormones and other ingredients that may be used. NOM-EM-006-PESC-2004 regulates the use and application of antibiotics, including the establishment of minimum and maximum limits, for the prevention and control of diseases of crustaceans. It stipulates that new pharmaceuticals have to be approved by CONAPESCA and describes the procedure to be followed.
The Foreign Investment Law (Ley de Inversión Extranjera) (1993, as amended), implemented by the Regulations to the Foreign Investment Law and to the National Foreign Investment Registry (Reglamento de la Ley de Inversión Extranjera y del Registro Nacional de Inversiónes Extranjeras) (1998), allows up to 100 percent foreign ownership of aquaculture production, processing and marketing facilities. In general, foreigners are prohibited from acquiring direct dominion over lands or waters in restricted zones (which includes the coastal zone). However, the Law and the Regulation allow foreign ownership in restricted zones, provided a trust is set up for a period not to exceed 50 years. The Law and the Regulation are administered by the General Office of Foreign Investment (Dirección General de Inversión Extranjera, DGIE), falling under the Secretariat of Economy (Secretaría de Economia) and the National Commission of Foreign Investment (Comisión Nacional de Inversiones Extranjeras, CNIE). The CNIE is an intersecretarial administrative entity with responsibility for establishing policy guidelines and criteria for the application of the legal and regulatory provisions in the area of foreign investment. More information on investment in Mexico can be obtained at http://www.economia.gob.mx.
(Reglamento Interior de la Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación) By-laws of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food
(Decreto por el que se crea la Comisión Nacional de Acuacultura y Pesca) (2001) Decree concerning the creation of the National Commission for Aquaculture and Fisheries
Regulation to the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection Regarding Environmental Impact Assessment.
Regulation for the use and exploitation of the territorial sea, navigable waters, beaches, federal maritime zones and lands gained from the sea.
(Reglamento de la Ley de Aguas Nacionales) (1994, as amended in 1997) Regulation to the National Water Law
NOM-010-PESC-1993 NOM-010-PESC-1993 , que establece los requisitos sanitarios para la importación de organismos acuáticos vivos en cualesquiera de sus fases de desarrollo, destinados a la acuacultura y ornato, en el territorio nacional
NOM-011-PESC-1993 NOM-011-PESC-1993 , para regular la aplicación de cuarentenas, a efecto de prevenir la introducción y dispersión de enfermedades certificables y notificables, en la importación de organismos acuáticos vivos en cualesquiera de sus fases de desarrollo, destinados a la acuacultura y ornato en los estados unidos mexicanos.
NOM-027-SSA1-1993 NOM-027-SSA1-1993 , Bienes y servicios. Productos de la pesca. Pescados frescos-refrigerados y congelados. Especificaciones sanitarias
NOM-028-SSA1-1993 NOM-028-SSA1-1993 , Bienes y servicios. Productos de la pesca. Pescados en conserva. Especificaciones sanitarias
NOM-029-SSA1-1993 NOM-029-SSA1-1993 , Bienes y servicios. Productos de la pesca. Crustáceos frescos-refrigerados y congelados. Especificaciones sanitarias
NOM-030-SSA1-1993 NOM-030-SSA1-1993 , Bienes y servicios. Productos de la pesca. Crustáceos en conserva. Especificaciones sanitarias
NOM-031-SSA1-1993 NOM-031-SSA1-1993 , Bienes y servicios. Productos de la pesca. Moluscos bivalvos frescos-refrigerados y congelados. Especificaciones sanitarias
NOM-032-SSA1-1993 NOM-032-SSA1-1993 , Bienes y servicios. Productos de la pesca. Moluscos bivalvos en conserva. Especificaciones sanitarias
NOM-128-SSA1-1994 NOM-128-SSA1-1994 , Bienes y servicios. Que establece la aplicación de un sistema de análisis de riesgos y control de puntos críticos en la planta industrial procesadora de productos de la pesca
NOM-129-SSA1-1995 NOM-129-SSA1-1995 , Bienes y servicios. Productos de la pesca: secos-salados, ahumados, moluscos cefalópodos y gasterópodos frescos-refrigerados y congelados. Disposiciones y especificaciones sanitarias
(The previous program - the Program for Fisheries and Aquaculture 1995-2000 (Programa de Pesca y Acuacultura) - is available in FAOLEX)Sectoral Program for Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food 2001-2006.
DeWalt, B.R., J.R. Ramírez Zavala, L. Noriega and R.E. González. 2002. Shrimp Aquaculture, the People and the Environment in Coastal Mexico. Report prepared under the World Bank, NACA, WWF and FAO Consortium Program on Shrimp Farming and the Environment.
Federal Attorney General for Environmental Protection (Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente) (PROFEPA)
Intersecretarial Commission on Biosafety and Genetic Modified Organisms (Comisión Intersecretarial de Bioseguridad y Organismos Genéticamente Modificados) (CIBIOGEM)
Inter-Secretarial Commission for the Control of the Processing and Use of Pesticides, Fertilizers and Toxic Substances (Comisión Intersecretarial para el Control del Proceso y Uso de Plaguicidas, Fertilizantes y Sustancias Tóxicas) (CICOPLAFEST)
National Commission on Aquaculture and Fisheries (Comisión Nacional de Acuacultura y Pesca) (CONAPESCA)
National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad) (CONABIO)
Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadaría, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación) (SAGARPA)
Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales) (SEMARNAT)
SEMARNAP. Camaronicultura sustentable. In: FAO.1999. Papers presented at the Bangkok FAO Technical Consultation on Policies for Sustainable Shrimp Culture. Bangkok, Thailand, 8-11 December 1997. FAO Fisheries Report No. 572 (Supplement).
Villalobos A. V. M. Regulatory policies of GMOs in Mexico.