Submission ID: SEM-98-006
Party concerned: Mexico
Date filed: October 20, 1998
Submission Status: Closed
Latest Update: June 23, 2003
The final factual record was publicly released.
Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:
The Submission alleges that the United Mexican States is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws with respect to the establishment and operation of [Granjas Aquanova S.A.] a shrimp farm located in Isla del Conde, Municipality of San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico. The Submitters allege that the authorities have failed to effectively enforce: legal provisions for the protection of jungles and tropical rainforests, particularly as regards certain mangrove and migratory bird species; environmental impact requirements; wastewater discharge, and provisions for prevention and control of water pollution and use; and provisions on fisheries and the introduction of alien species. The Submission further contends a failure to prosecute the company for the allegedly committed environmental offenses, and a failure to follow up on the administrative procedures initiated under an agreement between the environmental authorities and the company, to assess the damages caused and the remediation options. On this matter, the Submission asserts that: “…authorities may not negotiate on the enforcement and compliance of laws enacted in the public and social interest, such as the General Law on Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y la Protección al Ambiente) and the Forestry Act (Ley Forestal).” Finally, the Submission alleges the failure to comply with three international conventions on the protection of migratory species and wetlands.
Summary of the response provided by the Party:
Mexico acknowledges in its response the environmental problems in the area where the shrimp company “Granjas Aquanova” operates, and states that it is exercising the legal means within its capacity to correct the deterioration caused by the company’s violations of the authorizations it had been granted. Mexico indicates that the submission is not viable because Mexico considers that the Submitters should have exhausted all available legal remedies, and have not done so. The Party explains that the citizen complaint is not a remedy and that the environmental authority has not completed its consideration of the complaint. The Party includes in its response a detailed answer to each one of the allegations of the Submitters about the company’s non-compliance with environmental legislation. Regarding the allegation that Mexico has failed to effectively enforce its environmental law, the Party enumerates its actions, including an environmental impact evaluation, the imposition of conditions on operation, verification visits, requiring offsetting measures, etc. The party points out that the Submitters invoke the current provisions of the LGEEPA (General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection) derived from the 1996 reforms which came after the actual occurrence of some of those situations; in some cases the applicable requirements were different from the current ones and the authorizations cited by the Submitters were not required. The Party denies that the company has introduced a species of shrimp that causes a disease affecting other fishery resources and indicates that the company obtained all the authorizations in that respect. The Party also responds individually to the Submitter’s assertions regarding the alleged failure to effectively enforce its environmental law. It points out that a preliminary inquiry is underway concerning the environmental offenses allegedly committed by the company. Mexico explains its legal basis to consider the agreement between the environmental authority and the company to asses damages and remediation options, as a legitimate means of terminating the administrative procedure on the company’s violations without relinquishing its sanctioning authorities. Lastly, regarding the alleged failure to comply with three international conventions on the protection of migratory species and wetlands, the Party objects that the Submitters have not explained which provisions of the cited agreements have not been complied with. Notwithstanding, Mexico responds to the generic allegations: it clarifies that one of the instruments cited by the Submitters is not an international agreement, it explains that the instruments mentioned are not applicable to the case, and it describes the actions taken by Mexico to comply with its obligations under these instruments.
Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:
1. General Law on Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection, articles 117, 118, 119, 121, 123, 129, 130, 168 and 182
2. National Water Law, articles 86 III, 88, 119 I, II and VIII and 4, 9, 92
3. Regulations of the National Water Law, articles 134, 135, 137 and 153
6. Fisheries Law, articles 3VIII and 24 XXIV
7. Regulations of the Fisheries Law, articles 44, 48 and 50
8. Federal Criminal Code, articles 416 I and II, 418 and 420 V
9. Forestry Law, article 51
10. Federal Law on Administrative Procedure, article 74
11. SEMARNAP Internal Regulations, articles 37, 40 and 62
12. Federal Criminal Procedures Code, article 117
13. Conventions referred to under Clause Three A, B and C.
Grupo Ecológico Manglar, A.C.
The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.
Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 08/12/1998
Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 22/09/1998
Under guideline 3.10, the Secretariat requested the submitter(s) to correct minor errors of form.
Other Documents - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 22/10/1998
The Submitters corrected the minor errors of form.
The Secretariat determined that the submission met the criteria of Article 14(1) and requested a response from the concerned government Party in accordance with Article 14(2).
Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) and 14 (2) authored by Secretariat on 17/03/1999
The Secretariat received a response from the concerned government Party and began considering whether to recommend a factual record.
Acknowledgement - Other document authored by Secretariat on 22/06/1999
Party Response - Response from the Party under Article 14 (3) authored by Mexico on 14/06/1999
The Secretariat informed Council that the Secretariat considers that the submission warrants development of a factual record.
Other Documents - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 10/09/2000
Notification - Secretariat Notification to Council under Article 15(1) authored by Secretariat on 04/08/2000
The Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to develop a Factual Record.
Resolution - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 16/11/2001
The Secretariat placed a work plan on its web site or otherwise made it available to the public and stakeholders.
Workplan - Overall workplan for Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 14/12/2001
The Secretariat posted a request for information relevant to the factual record on its web site.
Secretariat Information Request - Document related to the preparation of a Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 14/02/2002
The Secretariat submitted a draft factual record to Council, for a 45-day comment period on the accuracy of the draft.
The comment period expired without the Secretariat receiving any comments from the Parties.
The Secretariat submitted a final factual record to Council for Council's vote on whether to make the final factual record publicly available.
Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to make the final factual record publicly available.
Resolution - Council decision on whether the factual record will be made publicly available authored by Council on 23/06/2003
The final factual record was publicly released.
Final Factual Record - Final Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 05/05/2003