NOAA Seeks to Expand Seafood Import Monitoring Program

 On Dec. 27, NOAA Fisheries announced a proposed rule to expand the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), a risk-based Program for targeted species of seafood imported into the U.S. 

 

Expanding SIMP would increase the number of species in the program from approximately 1,100 individual species to about 1,670 individual species.

 

SIMP currently establishes reporting and recordkeeping requirements for about half of all U.S. seafood imports to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and misrepresented seafood from entering U.S. commerce. By providing a screening and deterrent tool for IUU fish and fish products and misrepresented seafood products entering the U.S., SIMP will strengthen the national economy, global food security, and the sustainability of our shared ocean resources. 

 

The rule proposes to expand the species currently subject to SIMP, including red snapper and tuna, to include all species in the snapper family and other tunas, to minimize the risk of mislabeling and product substitution that is used to bypass SIMP requirements. In addition, the rule proposes to add cuttlefish and squid, eels, octopus, queen conch, and Caribbean spiny lobster to the program. The rule also proposes to make additional program modifications and improvements.

 

NOAA Fisheries uses a risk-based framework to target species most vulnerable to IUU fishing and seafood fraud. This risk-based approach allows for efficient use of government resources for screening and implementation while minimizing industry burden and trade impact.

 

The agency welcomes feedback on the potential addition of these species and other elements in the proposed rule to clarify the responsibilities of International Fisheries Trade Permit holders, electronic recordkeeping requirements, and provisions to accommodate small-scale fisheries. NOAA Fisheries also seeks feedback from stakeholders on program improvements, such as interest in a standardized form for compliance. 

 

The comment period for the proposed rule will close on March 28. NOAA Fisheries will consider all public comments before issuing a final rule. 

 

For more information, please visit https://bit.ly/3VqAm7m. 

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