On Sunday, March 15, 2015 at the Seafood Expo in Boston, Bruce H. Andrews, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce, announced a new Presidential Task Force plan to combat international seafood fraud and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), about 90% of seafood consumed in the United States is imported from abroad and about half of that is wild-caught. A recent study by Oceana found that 20 to 32 percent of wild-caught seafood imported to the U.S. comes from illegal fishing, whether it is fish caught in closed areas, threatened or endangered fish, or fish caught with illegal gear that damages marine ecosystems. Along with this, Oceana conducted DNA tests on seafood samples over the past two years and found that nearly a third of the tested seafood products were misrepresented and mislabeled according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. In 2014, Oceana released an interactive map to show the global reach of seafood fraud.
The Presidential Task Force, which includes the NOAA, FDA, and many other U.S. governmental agencies, plans to create a seafood tracking system that will track where, when, and how seafood is caught, as well as its path from capture to U.S. entry, such as where it is processed and stored. At first the tracking system will be implemented for species with a high risk for fraud or illegal harvest. The Task Force will then use what it learns from the implementation to expand the tracking system to all seafood. The Task Force would eventually like the tracking system to include a way of informing consumers about the seafood they purchase.
In addition to the tracking system, the Presidential Task Force will take measures to “create and expand domestic partnerships to detect black market fishing and seafood fraud” and strengthen enforcement, according to a White House blog post.
With increased governmental surveillance ahead for the international seafood industry, it’s prudent for industry professionals to take steps to ensure compliance with U.S. requirements. Registrar Corp helps seafood companies comply with FDA regulations for exporting seafood to the USA. Registrar Corp can help seafood companies create or review their required HACCP plan, review seafood labels for FDA compliance, and more. Meet up with Registrar Corp at the Seafood Expo to learn more about FDA’s regulations for seafood companies and how we can assist. Contact +1-757-224-0177 or tweet @RegistrarCorp.
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