Direct the Task Force members, to include the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and the Interior, and the Attorney General to develop within 180 days a strategy with implementation deadlines to optimize the collection, sharing, and analysis of information and resources to prevent IUU or fraudulently labeled seafood from entering U.S. commerce. This strategy should include a plan to increase support and coordination across agencies for forensic analysis of seafood species and corresponding collection, archiving, and analysis of related reference specimens, as well as reflect efforts to increase coordination with state and local governments per Recommendation 11.
Federal and state agencies have a role in preventing the distribution of IUU seafood products and in detecting and preventing seafood fraud throughout the supply chain. While federal law enforcement agencies cooperate routinely, engagement in the effort to target IUU seafood products and seafood fraud is relatively new for some critical agencies, particularly those at the state and local level. Development of information sharing mechanisms, coordination of joint, intelligence-driven enforcement operations, and development of protocols across agencies to better utilize law enforcement tools, such as forensics, would maximize the effectiveness of limited law enforcement resources to detect and interdict IUU fish and fish products from entering U.S. commerce. Additional coordination and investment in forensic resources will allow greater throughput, decreasing turnaround time for processing of evidence in time-sensitive cases, and allowing more effective targeting of shipments examined for fraud. This recommendation seeks to expand existing interagency collaboration for information sharing (such as through Customs and Border Protection’s Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC)), and joint law enforcement operations, as well as formalizing new protocols for cooperation on sharing of expertise in necessary enforcement tools, such as forensics.