The U.S. has established additional protections to curb illegal fishing.
On December 8, NOAA Fisheries released the final rule establishing the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. NOAA Fisheries will administer the program to curb illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and to identify misrepresented seafood imports before they enter the U.S. market.
The program requires that importers report information and maintain records about the harvest, landing and chain of custody of imported fish and fish products for certain priority species identified as especially vulnerable to IUU fishing and seafood fraud. The program will eventually expand to include all species.
The U.S. will use the existing International Trade Data System to collect seafood catch and landing documentation for the priority seafood species. This data system is the U.S. government’s data portal for all imports and exports. Similar information for domestically harvested seafood is already reported under numerous existing state and federal regulatory requirements.
January 1, 2018, is the mandatory compliance date for most priority species. Due to gaps in availability of information regarding U.S. farmed shrimp and abalone, implementation for these species will be effective at a later date.
Illegal fishing steals billions of dollars’ worth of resources from the world’s oceans each year, hurting those who act within the law, including tens of thousands of Americans who support their families by fishing responsibly and legally.