December 13, 2016
US initiates programme to further curb illegal fishing, fraud
The US is initiating the Seafood Import Monitoring Programme to further curb illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices and to identify misrepresented seafood imports before they enter the US market, it was announced.
The programme, which will be administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 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 programme will eventually expand to include all species.
"As a global leader in sustainable fisheries management and seafood consumption, the US has a responsibility to combat illegal practices that undermine the sustainability of our shared ocean resources", said Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA administrator. "We designed this programme to further ensure that imported seafood is legally harvested and truthfully represented, with minimal burden to our partners."
Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Catherine Novelli said this rule "sends an important message to the international seafood community that if you are open and transparent about the seafood you catch and sell across the supply chain, then the US markets are open for your business".
The US 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 US government's data portal for all imports and exports. Information collected through this programme is confidential and not available to consumers.
Most priority species must comply with the rule by Jan. 1, 2018, but due to gaps in the availability of information regarding US farmed shrimp and abalone, implementation for these species will be effective at a later date, according to NOAA.
This programme was crafted on the initiative of the Presidential Task Force on Combating IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud, which is co-chaired by the Departments of Commerce and State.
For more information about this programme, visit http://www.iuufishing.noaa.gov/.