Notice of Increased Fee Schedule for Seafood Inspection Services
NOAA announces changes to its fee schedule for contract and non-contract inspection services performed by its Seafood Inspection Program, effective November 1, 2022. As a fee-for-service program providing inspection and auditing services to domestic seafood processors and distributors, the program is obligated to recover all direct program operating costs and applicable administrative costs related to running the program.
Review of program operating expenses and projected revenue indicates that significant modifications to the current fees are necessary to promote full cost recovery in 2023 and beyond and to ensure the level and structure of reasonable fees are consistent with the cost of the services rendered. The magnitude of the change to fees is larger than in previous rate increases because the demand for inspection services has not yet recovered fully from disruptions caused by COVID-19. NOAA sought to limit drastic and unpredictable changes to fees while industry operations were disrupted by the pandemic and now must make adjustments in an effort to ensure full cost recovery of the program in fiscal year 2023.
The fees for some services will change modestly based on the latest calculations of service costs, while other fees will increase more significantly than previous rate increases. We do not expect the program will need such significant fee increases in the future . Future fee changes will be made, as necessary, to fully recover the cost of the Seafood Inspection Program as nearly as possible.
NOAA is committed to setting reasonable and appropriate fees consistent with the cost of services rendered and seeks to resolve funding uncertainties and mitigate risks related to revenue shortfalls to ensure sustainability of the program. The program will continue to evaluate the demand for its services as the industry continues to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and will adjust fees accordingly to recover the costs of services.
For more information please see www.federalregister.gov/