NOAA Fisheries Announces Proposed Rule to Expand Seafood Import Monitoring

Image via NOAA Fisheries.

NOAA Fisheries has announced a proposed rule that would expand the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), a risk-based program for targeted species of seafood imported into the United States.

SIMP currently includes reporting and recordkeeping requirements for nearly half of all seafood imported, in order to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and misrepresented seafood from entering US commerce.

SIMP would provide a screening and deterrent tool for IUU fish and fish products and misrepresented seafood products seeking entry into domestic markets.

The rule proposes to expand the species currently subject to SIMP, including red snapper and tuna, to include all species in the snapper family and additional tunas, to minimize the risk of mislabeling and product substitution that’s used to bypass SIMP requirements.

In addition, the rule proposes to add cuttlefish and squid, eels, octopus, queen conch and Caribbean spiny lobster to the program. The rule also proposes to make additional program modifications and improvements.

NOAA Fisheries uses a risk-based framework to target species that are most vulnerable to IUU fishing and seafood fraud. This risk-based approach allows for efficient use of government resources for screening and implementation, while minimizing industry burden and trade impact.

The comment period for the proposed rule closes on March 28, 2023. NOAA Fisheries is expected to consider all public comments before issuing a final rule.