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Illegally imported seafood. (Photo: NOAA)

NOAA proposes new traceability plan to combat IUU fishing

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Saturday, February 06, 2016, 03:10 (GMT + 9)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced a proposal to implement a traceability plan for fishery products, aimed at combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and to prevent fraudulent trade.

The programme seeks to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering U.S. commerce.

Kathryn D. Sullivan, NOAA administrator, said, “We are asking the seafood industry, trade and consumer sectors, our international partners and the conservation community to help guide us in creating an effective, efficient programme.”

The proposed seafood traceability system will collect data about harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products imported into the United States identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and seafood fraud.

The project applies to abalone, Atlantic and Pacific cod, blue crab, dolphinfish (also known as mahi mahi) and grouper. It also includes king crab, red snapper, sea cucumber, all species of sharks and shrimp, swordfish and four kinds of tuna -- albacore, bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin tuna. Eventually, it could be expanded to more species.

Likewise, information for domestically harvested seafood is already reported under numerous state and federal regulatory requirements. The proposal does not create any new reporting requirements for domestic landings of wild-caught seafood.

IUU fishing and fraudulent fishery products undermine conservation efforts and management, both at home and abroad.

NOAA Fisheries' Jennie Lyons, stressed, "These things hurt the fishers who play by the rules, and that's why the president set up a task force to address this topic."

Alaska Congressman Don Young applauded the idea.

"Because most of these species are interchangeable internationally, and if we have conservation going on in Alaska, and nothing going on Russia -- who's the big villain right now -- we got some problems," he noted.

Some two billion dollars worth of seafood -- up to 32 percent of wild-caught seafood imported into the United States each year -- are illegal, according to a research published in 2014 in the journal Marine Policy.

Most wild-caught imports to the United States come from 10 countries: China, Thailand, Indonesia, Ecuador, Canada, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Mexico and Chile, AFP informed.


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