The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) has updated the list of nations identified as being involved with illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, bycatch, and shark catch.
A negative certification from the NOAA may result in fishing vessels of that nation being denied U.S. port access, and potential import restrictions on fish or fish products.
In its 2023 Report, the NOAA identified seven nations for IUU fishing: Angola, China, Gambia, Grenada, Mexico, Taiwan, and Vanuatu.
Additionally, China and Taiwan were identified for issues concerning the production of seafood-related goods through forced labor.
China and Vanuatu were called out for shark catch without regulations comparable to those of the United States.
The report also includes certification determinations for 31 nations and entities identified for IUU fishing and/or bycatch of protected marine life in the 2021 report.
Positive: Costa Rica, Guyana, Senegal, and Taiwan received positive certification determinations for taking actions to remedy the IUU fishing activities identified in the 2021 report.
Negative: Mexico, China, and Russia received negative certifications for failing to take actions to remedy their reported activities.
Protected Marine Life Bycatch
China, Croatia, Egypt, European Union, Grenada, Guyana, Japan, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, and Taiwan received positive certifications for taking corrective actions to address their protected marine life bycatch activities identified in the 2021 Report.
Algeria, Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Namibia, Senegal, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, and Turkey received negative certifications for not having a regulatory program comparable to that of the United States to reduce bycatch of sea turtles in pelagic longline fisheries in the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas waters beyond any national jurisdiction.
Additionally, Mexico has been negatively certified for its lack of a comparable regulatory program to reduce or minimize bycatch of endangered North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles.
What does this mean for importers?
Seafood importers should be aware of the risks associated with sourcing seafood from countries that have not received a positive NOAA certification.
US importers may need to conduct additional due diligence on their seafood suppliers to ensure that they are not sourcing from nations engaged in IUU fishing, forced labor, or unregulated bycatch and shark catch, and/or diversify their seafood supply chains to reduce their reliance on nations identified in the report.
Importers can learn more about the report and its implications for their businesses by reading the full Report on IUU Fishing, Bycatch, and Shark Catch.
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