Actions and Announcements: Recommendations 14 & 15
February 2016: Proposed Rule for First phase of a u.s. Seafood Traceability Program
On February 4, NOAA Fisheries announced a proposed rule to establish the first phase of a seafood traceability program through the collection or retention of data regarding the harvest, landing, and chain of custody of certain fish and fish products imported into the United States that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and seafood fraud. IUU fishing and seafood fraud threaten valuable resources critical to global food security and place law-abiding fishers and seafood producers at a disadvantage. Seafood traceability is an important tool to combat these illegal activities and reduce their harmful impacts on resources and markets.
Briefly, the proposed rule:
- Includes the data reporting and record-keeping procedures necessary to ensure traceability of seafood products from harvest to the point of entry into U.S. commerce;
- Includes no new reporting requirements for domestic landings of wild-caught seafood, as similar information is already collected under various Federal and/or State fishery management and reporting programs;
- Does not include a consumer-facing labeling or certification scheme. It is a business-to-government program limited to the collection, review and verification of data considered essential for tracing fish and fish products from harvest to point of entry into U.S. commerce; and
- Is designed to build upon existing resources and processes, aiming to maximize effectiveness and efficiency, while minimizing impacts on the fishing and seafood trade community.
- To achieve these objectives, we encourage detailed comments from the fishing and seafood industries, conservation community, and other interested stakeholders engaged with sustainable seafood.
The extended comment period for the proposed rule ended on April 12, 2016. NOAA Fisheries has hosted a series of webinar conference calls and in-person public meetings about the proposed rule (details below).