On December 9, 2016, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published in the Federal Register a final rule [Docket No. 150507434–6638–02], pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), that establishes permitting, reporting and recordkeeping procedures relating to the importation of certain fish and fish products, identified as being at particular risk of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing or seafood fraud, in order to implement the MSA’s prohibition on the import and trade, in interstate or foreign commerce, of fish taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of any foreign law or regulation or in contravention of a treaty or a binding conservation measure of a regional fishery organization to which the United States is a party.

Collection of catch and landing documentation for certain fish and fish products will be accomplished through the government-wide International Trade Data System (ITDS) by electronic submission of data through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The information will be collected through the ITDS electronic single window consistent with the Safety and Accountability for Every (SAFE) Port Act of 2006 and other applicable statutes. Specifically, the rule revises an existing NMFS requirement for the importer of record to file electronically through ACE data prescribed under certain existing NMFS programs (and to retain records supporting such filings) to also cover the data required to be reported under the rule. The rule requires data to be reported on the harvest of fish and fish products.

In addition, the rule requires retention of additional supply chain data by the importer of record and extends an existing NMFS requirement to obtain an annually renewable International Fisheries Trade Permit (IFTP) to the fish and fish products regulated under the rule. The information to be reported and retained, as applicable, under the rule will help authorities verify that the fish or fish products were lawfully acquired by providing information to trace each import shipment back to the initial harvest event(s). The rule will also decrease the incidence of seafood fraud by requiring the reporting of this information to the U.S. Government at import and requiring retention of documentation so that the information reported (e.g., regarding species and harvest location) can be verified.

The final rule is effective January 9, 2017. Title 50 C.F.R. 300.324(a)(3), which covers abalone and shrimp, is stayed indefinitely. NMFS will publish a document in the Federal Register lifting the stay and announcing the effective date of 50 C.F.R. 300.324(a)(3). The compliance date for the rule for the species included at 50 C.F.R. 300.324(a)(2) is January 1, 2018.