NGOs Call for NOAA to Strengthen Seafood Import Standards

U.S. Consumers face tough choices on the seafood counter these days. We’ve now found out that a few seafoods is stuck with the aid of forced or trafficked hard work—repugnant practices no moral man or woman could wittingly throw their cash in the back of. We recognize that a few seafoods is fraudulent or now not what it claims to be. But did that up to at least one-third of untamed-stuck U.S. Seafood imports are harvested the use of unlawful, unreported, and unregulated fishing practices (IUU fishing)?

IUU fishing is a sort of fishing that drives overfishing, which threatens the world’s fish supply, honest fishermen’s livelihoods, and wreaks havoc on marine ecosystems. Roughly 365 days in the past, a U.S. Program meant to help remedy these ills came into effect. The application referred to as the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), objectives to close U.S. Markets to IUU-fished and fraudulent seafood and is a primary first step in the fight to combat IUU fishing. Yet, as exact in a letter NRDC, WWF, Oceana, Greenpeace, Marine Conservation Institute, Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Center for Biological Diversity sent to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on April 29, at the only-yr anniversary of the program, NOAA desires to prioritize ultimate key implementation gaps and work towards increasing the program to include all imported seafood species. Without taking those essential steps, the program will fall short of reaching its goal to prevent IUU fishing and fraudulent seafood from getting into America.

The U.S. Imports more than 80 percent of the seafood Americans devour, and in 2018, the United States become the world’s top seafood importing united states. In 2016, a hefty ~five. Seventy-nine billion pounds of fit for human consumption seafood entered the USA. What these bewildering numbers imply is that America has large leverage to stamp out IUU fishing and seafood fraud—if the US closes its coffers to IUU fished seafood. Fishermen who harvest their catches illegally accomplish that as it’s inexpensive than adhering to the policies. Conversely, if the illegally-fished product can’t make it to a primary market just like the U.S., there will be a much less economic incentive to fish illegally. The SIMP targets to disincentivize IUU fishing and seafood fraud by way of shutting down U.S. Trade to these sorts of merchandise.

The SIMP currently works by requiring complete deliver chain traceability for 13 species businesses of seafood. By having key facts about when and where the fish turned into stuck, the fishing vessel and form of gear used, and where transshipment and processing occurred, import officers have the statistics they would need to hint a seafood shipment back to its starting place. If certain information don’t upload up – as an instance, the shipment says that it’s albacore tuna, but the import documents file that the tuna was caught near the Aleutian Islands, that’s outside of albacore tuna’s variety—enforcement agents will realize that there may be something fishy about the specific cargo. While having complete supply chain traceability by myself gained’t solve IUU fishing, it’s miles a prerequisite to finishing IUU fishing. In the words of Guy Dean, President of Organic Ocean Seafood and 2018 winner of the Seafood Champion Award for Leadership, “you cannot have sustainability without traceability.”