National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries has released a final rule establishing the Seafood Import Monitoring Program to address illegal fishing and seafood fraud in the United States. The program will aim to further curb illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices and identify misrepresented seafood imports before they enter the U.S. market.
Under the program, importers must report information and keep records on the harvest, landing and chain of custody of imported fish and fish products for certain priority species deemed particularly susceptible to IUU fishing and seafood fraud. The program will eventually encompass all species.
“As a global leader in sustainable fisheries management and seafood consumption, the U.S. has a responsibility to combat illegal practices that undermine the sustainability of our shared ocean resources,” noted NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan. “We designed this program to further ensure that imported seafood is legally harvested and truthfully represented, with minimal burden to our partners.”
“This rule is a critical step forward in combating IUU and seafood fraud,” added Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment at the U.S. Department of State. “It 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 U.S. markets are open for your business. The rule will build on similar global efforts and will provide confidence to our consumers in the seafood they eat while also leveling the playing field for honest fishers across the globe who play by the rules.”
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