On January 3, 2023, NOAA issued Grand Sea Boston LLC a $18,675 civil penalty for violating multiple requirements of the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. The program is a key tool in the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
“Honest fishermen and seafood companies deserve an equal playing field,” said Jim Landon, Director of NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement. “This case demonstrates our commitment to protecting those who play by the rules by stopping misrepresented seafood or seafood suspected of being harvested illegally before it enters U.S. markets.”
This case began after officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection identified falsely labeled packages from China containing species regulated by the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. They alerted NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement. Together, additional inbound shipments were targeted for investigation.
The investigation revealed that Grand Sea Boston LLC received falsely labeled shipments from China and failed to report and/or misreported them. They failed to maintain and provide complete and accurate chain of custody records tracing the product from its harvest, movement through supply chains, and ultimately its entry into the United States. The company also imported sea cucumbers and abalone without a valid International Fisheries Trade Permit. All of these are violations of the program’s permitting, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements.
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities significantly undermine U.S. and global efforts to sustainably manage fisheries and conserve marine resources. They also put rule-abiding fishermen and seafood producers in the United States at a disadvantage in global markets. Successful enforcement of the Seafood Import Monitoring Program is one of many tools the U.S. government uses to address this issue.
This case was made possible through close collaboration between:
- NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement
- NOAA’s Office of General Counsel Enforcement Section
- NOAA’s Office of International Affairs, Trade, and Commerce
- NOAA Marine Forensics Laboratory
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection