Recommendation 8: enforcement – information sharing

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.


Close cooperation among law enforcement organizations at the international, federal, and state/local levels is utilized to identify and interdict IUU and fraudulently labeled seafood. Maximizing the effectiveness of this collaboration, and further enhancing ongoing cooperation will be necessary to prevent IUU and fraudulently labeled seafood from entering U.S. commerce. 

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.

Implementation Steps

Lead Agencies: NOAA, DHS/CBP, and DOJ
Other Agencies Involved: DHS/ICE, DHS/USCG, FDA, USDA, USFWS, DOS, DOD

  • By May 2015, complete an inventory of existing interagency agreements, joint activities, and ongoing/planned operations that may be utilized under this recommendation. This would include identification of existing facilities for conducting forensic analysis and their capabilities. In addition, identify any necessary amendments to or modifications of existing agreements, or the need for new agreements, and pursue them. Finally, the inventory should make allowance for inclusion of relevant MDA tools identified pursuant to Recommendation 3. This inventory is necessary to determine gaps in collaboration and cooperation on information sharing.
  • By September 2015, finalize a strategy to optimize the collection, sharing, and analysis of information and resources to prevent IUU or fraudulently labeled seafood from entering U.S. commerce and circulate to the NOC Committee. Present to state and local law enforcement personnel and stakeholders as appropriate. The strategy will include sub-groups to develop focused input on:
    • Information sharing to include DHS assets such as CBP’s Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) and expanded access to information across all relevant enforcement agencies including MDA tools developed pursuant to Recommendation 3, trend information on fraudulent seafood that may be collected under Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements pursuant to Recommendation 9, and information collected from the traceability program collected pursuant to Recommendations 14 and 15.
    • Protocols, procedures, and agreements for joint enforcement operations targeting IUU fish and fish product as well as seafood fraud.
    • Procedures for interagency cooperation on: 1) use and development of forensic tools, including means to fill existing gaps in capabilities and eliminate duplication; 2) procedures for when/how resources of one agency can be accessed and utilized by partner agencies; 3) development of specific forensic analysis information required by each agency to promote effective enforcement actions by any or all agencies; and 4) cataloging resources, aligning product codes and taxonomies pursuant to Recommendation 10, and for example, obtaining reference specimens and test results.
    • Mechanisms/processes for coordination, information sharing and development of proposed joint operations to include appropriate federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.


United States Capitol Dome and Flag. Photo Credit: David Maiolo (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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