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NOAA Fisheries Announces Comprehensive Review of its Seafood Import Monitoring Program to Strengthen its Impact and Effectiveness

November 14, 2023

The program will continue regular operation during the evaluation, and the list of priority species subject to program requirements will remain unchanged.


NOAA Fisheries announced that it will withdraw its Seafood Import Monitoring Program proposed rule. We will conduct a broad program review to enhance and strengthen the program’s overall impact and effectiveness. This decision stems from the extensive public feedback received during the proposed rule's comment period and over the program’s history. 

“NOAA Fisheries is committed to ensuring that the Program is a robust tool to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and help maintain the integrity of U.S. seafood imports,” said Alexa Cole, Director of the Office of International Affairs, Trade, and Commerce at Fisheries.

As part of our program review, we will engage with and seek broad input from stakeholders, including:

  • Industry
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Federal agencies
  • Congressional representatives
  • Foreign governments

We value the insights of those directly involved in the seafood industry, environmental advocacy, and governmental oversight. This effort seeks to ensure that the Program is a meaningful and impactful tool in our comprehensive approach to ensuring the integrity of seafood imports,” said Cole.

Gathering Input a Priority

To gather input, we will conduct a series of listening sessions to solicit written and oral feedback from stakeholders. The first listening session will be held at 9am ET, Friday November 17 with details coming shortly. We will post additional listening session details on our website and share them widely via email, e-newsletters, and social media.

NOAA Fisheries will also convene an informal interagency team as part of the review process. This will help us identify possible strategies for increasing the effectiveness and impact of the Program, and other relevant tools, in countering IUU fishing and seafood fraud.

“Collaboration with other agencies to explore alternative or complementary approaches available to address seafood traceability is crucial to develop a more effective government-wide approach for seafood traceability” said Cole.  

Seafood Import Monitoring Program Remains in Place

The Seafood Import Monitoring Program has been in place for more than 4 years. It monitors 13 species and species groups, comprising more than 1,100 individual species, to ensure the integrity of seafood entering the U.S. market. The risk-based framework complements the multiple tools the U.S. government employs to combat this issue by targeting species that are most vulnerable to IUU fishing and seafood fraud.

During the evaluation of the program, the Program will continue its regular operation, and the list of priority species subject to program requirements will remain unchanged. Additionally, NOAA Fisheries will continue to support industry and other stakeholders in program compliance during the review process.

For further information please email IUU.fishing@noaa.gov.

Last updated by Office of International Affairs, Trade, and Commerce on March 04, 2024