The United States is one of the largest seafood markets in the world. We produce about $11 billion dollars worth of processed seafood each year; exports represent approximately half of that value. The United States produces safe, sustainable and wholesome seafood—a valuable commodity in the global market. A key component for maintaining the United States’ strong competitiveness in the global seafood industry has been ensuring global confidence in the quality and wholesomeness of our seafood. This is the mission of NOAA’s Seafood Inspection Program.
About NOAA's Seafood Inspection Program
Authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, SIP provides voluntary seafood inspection services for processors and importers to meet the required regulations and accepted seafood production best practices that govern seafood products for human consumption.
With regional offices across the United States, including representatives in Asia and Europe, our personnel advocate on behalf of the U.S. seafood industry and for a “level playing field” for U.S. fishermen and seafood producers with our global trading partners. We represent the United States in negotiations with other countries regarding their import requirements for seafood products from the United States. SIP maintains the distinction of being the U.S. Government Competent Authority to issue health and catch certification for U.S. seafood exports—annually issuing nearly 150,000 export certificates to more than 100 countries across the world.
A large portion of imported seafood is caught by American fishermen, exported overseas for processing, and then reimported to the United States. SIP offers the same services to both U.S. and non-U.S. firms operating overseas or processing in foreign countries. A fee for service program, SIP supports seafood safety. This includes sanitation inspection, system and process audits, grading and inspection, export certification, and product laboratory analyses. We provide services to facilitate exports of seafood products that meet the unique requirements of each importing country and any other specific industry buyer criteria.
SIP is also unique in that it provides the seafood industry, at all levels, from harvester to retailer/restaurateur and consumer, with federal inspection services that certify and grade seafood products.
The work of the Seafood Inspection Program helps protect and strengthen the U.S. seafood market for U.S. fishermen and seafood producers.