Direct the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, with input from the Attorney General, to standardize and clarify rules on identifying the species, common name, and origin of seafood. Direct the Secretaries of Commerce and Homeland Security and the U.S. Trade Representative to work with the International Trade Commission to adjust U.S. tariff codes to enhance identification in trade of species subject to IUU fishing or seafood fraud accordingly. The agencies should aim to publish these revised rules and adjusted codes not later than one year after the adoption of this recommendation.
A wide variety of finfish and shellfish products are consumed by the American public, amounting to about 15 pounds per capita annually, with the majority imported. Whether imported or domestically produced, seafood products should not be marketed to consumers in a way that is false or misleading. For classification of imports, codes and descriptions are assigned to seafood products under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) of the United States which is maintained by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). In addition, the FDA maintains a list of product codes to describe seafood commodities entered into U.S. commerce. The FDA product codes refer to fish name, packaging, and type of processing. Deliberate misrepresentation of the species in trade can defraud consumers and allow the infiltration of the products of IUU fishing into the supply chain. Increasing the specificity of HTS codes, and names could help address issues of proper identification of seafood products in trade. Such specificity will help enforcement officials focus limited resources on shipments more likely to contain IUU seafood as well as help to protect against seafood fraud.
Other agencies involved: USTR, USFWS, DOJ, USDA and ITC