Direct the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, and the Attorney General to work with state and local enforcement authorities to expand information sharing and develop tools that address illegal fishing and seafood fraud at the state and local level.
State and local enforcement authorities have long played an important role in combating illegal fishing and seafood fraud. In regulating fisheries through enforcement in state waters and working with NOAA, monitoring landings of fish harvested in federal waters, state and local authorities are often the first recipients of information regarding potential illegal activity and illegally harvested products. They are a vital source of information for federal enforcement agencies and a critical component of fisheries enforcement. In many places, federal agencies already cooperate with state and local authorities on enforcement actions dealing with fisheries violations. For example, NOAA has a Cooperative Enforcement Program (CEP) in place with 27 state and territorial law enforcement agencies, which provide those agencies with the training and authority to enforce federal marine resource laws. DOIUSFWS also has a CEP in place with 47 state and territorial law enforcement agencies, which provide those agencies with the training and authority to enforce federal wildlife laws. Likewise, the Department of Justice (DOJ) frequently works with state and local law enforcement officials on investigations and prosecutions, and has helped establish regional environmental crimes task forces that help foster valuable information sharing and other efficiency building coordination.
State and local authorities also play a key role in detecting and preventing seafood fraud, since intrastate seafood sales, including those at the restaurant and retail level, are regulated by state and local, rather than federal, authorities. Agencies such as the FDA contract with state and local authorities that inspect retail and food establishments to carry out inspections at facilities under FDA’s jurisdiction. State and local authorities thus benefit from FDA training and information regarding seafood inspections and species designations.