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The Seafood Import Monitoring Program is Evening the Playing Field for Local Fishermen

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The United States is recognized as a global leader in sustainable seafood for both wild-caught and farmed products.

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud, including misrepresented seafood products, jeopardizes the health of fish stocks, distorts legal markets, and creates unfair competition with the products of law-abiding fishermen, aquaculture producers and seafood producers.

So, in December 2016, the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) established permitting, data reporting, and recordkeeping requirements for the import of thirteen priority species of fish and fish products entering U.S. commerce identified as being especially vulnerable to IUU fishing and seafood fraud.

SIMP facilitates better data collection and retention, sharing, and analysis among relevant regulators and enforcement authorities for imported seafood—marking a significant step forward in combatting IUU fishing and seafood fraud.

Compliance with SIMP requirements became effective on January 1, 2018; however, the inclusion of shrimp and abalone was put off until comparable traceability requirements for domestic aquaculture could be established.

In a victory for American fishermen, SIMP will now make it mandatory for foreign shrimp and abalone imports to be accompanied by harvest and landing data. By December 31, 2018, all foreign shrimp products imported into the US will have to prove chain of custody records, which will effectively level the playing field for U.S. fishermen, aquaculture producers, and seafood producers around the world who play by the rules.

NOAA and its U.S. Government partner agencies will continue to work with U.S. fishermen, aquaculture producers, foreign trading partners, and the international fishing community to support clarity and understanding of the Seafood Import Monitoring Program’s requirements and support an orderly and timely implementation of these initiatives.  

The inclusion of shrimp – the largest US seafood import- and abalone in SIMP nearly doubles the volume and value of imported fish and fish products subject to its requirements.

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