• As previously reported on this blog, the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce Department, issued a final rule on December 9, 2016 (81 FR 88975), that established the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP). The goal of the program is to prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) seafood from entering U.S. commerce.
  • SIMP established data reporting and recordkeeping requirements for imports of certain priority fish and fish products. Abalone, several types of cod and tuna, red snapper, Blue and King Crab, sharks, shrimp, and swordfish are among the types of seafood that were identified as being especially vulnerable to seafood fraud. The compliance date for most priority species was January 1, 2018. However, an administrative stay was placed on implementation for shrimp and abalone due to concerns over consistency with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
  • In February 2018, a bipartisan group of 11 senators sent a letter to Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) requesting that the FY18 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill include language to ensure that SIMP include shrimp within 30 days of enactment of the bill. The senators raised concerns about the use of antibiotics in some imported shrimp and suspect labor violations that produce some imported shrimp.
  • The FY 2018 Omnibus appropriations bill includes a provision that gives NMFS until the end of 2018 to apply SIMP to shrimp and abalone. The legislation also includes provisions concerning the domestic production of farmed shrimp that will ensure consistency with WTO rules, reports the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA). Shrimp is the largest U.S. seafood import, with over $6 billion in shrimp products imported in 2017, according to SSA.