The Seafood Import Monitoring Program final rule to combat fish fraud and illegal fishing was issued on Dec 8, 2016. The rule requires that fish species most often passed off fraudulently or at risk of illegal fishing be tracked from their source of origin before they can be imported to the United States. It requires retention of supply chain data by the importer of record and extends an existing NMFS requirement to obtain an annually renewable International Fisheries Trade Permit (IFTP) to import the seafood and seafood products regulated under this rule.
The Seafood Import Monitoring Program, will oversee fish importation. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which will run the program, the importer will be required to keep formal documentation on the chain of custody for the seafood being brought into the country.
The rule isn’t just about conservation. The United States imports about 80% of its seafood, and the rules that U.S. fisherman are required to follow make it harder to compete with the cheaper imports. The new rules are a step toward making seafood imports subject to the same strict rules as U.S.-caught seafood..
U.S. submits final rule to fight seafood fraud,Wall Street Journal, Dec 8, 2016
Obama administration announces final rule to address illegal fishing and seafood fraud in United StatesOceana applauds groundbreaking first step towards ensuring that all seafood sold in US is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled., Dec 8, 2016 “Some imported seafood will now be held to the same standards as domestically caught fish, helping to level the playing field for American fishermen and reducing the risk facing U.S. consumers.”
U.S. releases new regulations to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, World Wildlife Fund, Dec 8, 2016. “America is the largest importer of seafood in the world. The regulations represent a blow to criminals who sell illicit goods in the US of up to $2 billion a year, [but] this rule only accounts for a number of at-risk species, which make up about 25% of illegal imports. The federal government should move quickly to rein in illegal imports of shrimp, which drive down prices, hurting hard-working U.S. coastal fishermen.”