Recommendation 14 & 15: Final Rule to Implement a Seafood Import Monitoring Program

NOAA Fisheries published its final rule establishing the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) on December 9, 2016.  The Program establishes, for imports of certain seafood products, the reporting and recordkeeping requirements needed to prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU)-caught and/or misrepresented seafood from entering U.S. commerce, thereby providing additional protections for our national economy, global food security and the sustainability of our shared ocean resources. This is the first-phase of a risk-based traceability program—requiring the importer of record to provide and report key data—from the point of harvest to the point of entry into U.S. commerce—on an initial list of imported fish and fish products identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and/or seafood fraud.  

Public Meetings

NOAA Fisheries continues to hosts public webinars and meetings about the Final Rule to Implement a Seafood Import Monitoring Program. Upcoming meetings will be posted below. 

Overview of the Final Rule 

  • The final rule reflects and responds to numerous public comments and campaign messages received on the proposed rule and underscores NOAA Fisheries’ extensive efforts to establish an effective program that minimizes the burden of compliance on industry while providing the necessary information to identify illegal and/or misrepresented seafood imports before they enter the U.S. market.

  • The Seafood Import Monitoring Program establishes permitting, data reporting and recordkeeping requirements for the importation of certain priority fish and fish products that have been identified as being particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and/or seafood fraud.
  • The data collected will allow these priority species of seafood to be traced from the point of entry into U.S. commerce back to the point of harvest or production to verify whether it was lawfully harvested or produced.
  • The collection of catch and landing documentation for these priority seafood species will be accomplished through the International Trade Data System (ITDS), the U.S. government’s single data portal for all import and export reporting.  
  • The Seafood Import Monitoring Program is not a labeling program, nor is it consumer facing. In keeping with the Magnuson-Stevens Act authority (under which the regulatory program has been promulgated) and the strict information security of the ITDS--the information collected under this program is confidential.
  • The importer of record will be required to keep records regarding the chain of custody of the fish or fish product from harvest to point of entry into U.S. 

List of Priority Seafood Species

  • Abalone *                     
  • Atlantic Cod                 
  • Blue Crab (Atlantic)       
  • Dolphinfish (Mahi Mahi)
  • Grouper                                   
  • King Crab (red)             
  • Pacific Cod                    
  • Red Snapper
  • Sea Cucumber
  • Sharks
  • Shrimp *
  • Swordfish
  • Tunas: Albacore, Bigeye, Skipjack, Yellowfin, and Bluefin

Implementation

January 1, 2018 is the mandatory compliance date for most priority species listed in the rule, with *shrimp and abalone compliance phased in at a later date. [The effective date of this rule for all imported shrimp and abalone products – wild capture and aquaculture-raised - will be stayed until commensurate reporting and/or recordkeeping requirements have been established for domestic aquaculture-raised shrimp and abalone production.  At such time, NOAA Fisheries will announce a compliance date for shrimp and abalone. NOAA Fisheries is continuing to work with its partner agencies with respect to measures that could be adopted to close the gaps and to ensure comparability between traceability requirements and NOAA Fisheries’ access to traceability information for imported and domestic shrimp and abalone.]

Resource Materials