31 January 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

EXPORTERS of seafood to the US were urged to comply with the new requirements of the United States under its Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) beginning this year.

The SIMP 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 US commerce, providing additional protections for their national economy, global food security and the sustainability of their share-ocean resources.

The new rule is part of a broader seafood traceability program that covers both imports and US domestic production.

Equivalent information regarding harvest, landing and chain of custody of US-produced seafood is being collected pursuant to various other federal and state requirements.

Aside from abalone and shrimp, the other seafood species covered by the new rule effective on January 1 this year include Atlantic cod, Atlantic blue crab, dolphinfish (mahi-mahi), grouper, King crab (red), Pacufc cod, red snaoper, sea cucumber, sharks, swordfish and tuna (albacore, bigeye, skipjack, yellowfin and bluefin).

Compliance date for shrimp and abalone is phased in at a later date.

Over the past year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other US government agencies have provided information to exporting countries through webinars, written materials and in-person technical meetings.  NOAA will continue to work with producers, processors, exporters and importers to support and enforce compliance.

The SIMP 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.

Traceability measures like the ones SIMP establishes are an internationally accepted method for combating IUU fishing and seafood fraud, and will help facilitate legal trade for law-abiding fishers and seafood producers in the US and abroad.

Traceability can significantly improve information about harvesting levels that can be used to strengthen sustainable fisheries management.