NOAA Fisheries announced today its decision to withdraw the proposed rule to expand the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), a risk-based program for targeted species of seafood imported into the U.S. In response to the extensive public feedback on the proposed rule, the agency will instead conduct a broad review of the program to explore ways to enhance and strengthen its overall impact and effectiveness.
SIMP establishes reporting and recordkeeping requirements for nearly half of all U.S. seafood imports to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and misrepresented seafood from entering U.S. commerce. By providing a screening and deterrent tool for IUU fish and fish products, and misrepresented seafood products entering the U.S., SIMP strengthens our national economy, global food security and the sustainability of our shared ocean resources.
“This decision to withdraw the proposed rule stems from the extensive and varied feedback during the public comment period, and our overarching interest in strengthening the impact and effectiveness of our traceability efforts,” said Alexa Cole, Director of NOAA Fisheries’ Office of International Affairs, Trade, and Commerce. “We've received feedback from our stakeholders indicating that SIMP may not fully meet their expectations, and now is the appropriate time to review the program's scope, format and overall objectives as we plan for the future."
As part of the program review, NOAA Fisheries is committed to engaging and seeking broad input on SIMP from stakeholders, including industry, non-governmental organizations, other federal agencies, congressional representatives and foreign governments. While NOAA Fisheries conducts its review, SIMP will continue to operate in its current form and capacity, with the list of priority species subject to program requirements remaining unchanged and all program requirements remaining in effect.
In December 2022, NOAA proposed the rule to increase the number of species currently subject to SIMP (from approximately 1,100 individual species to approximately 1,670 individual species), to minimize the risk of mislabeling and product substitution that is used to bypass SIMP requirements, and to make additional program modifications and improvements. The comment period closed in March 2023. NOAA Fisheries is committed to the ongoing development and enhancement of SIMP as part of the agency’s comprehensive approach to combating IUU fishing and seafood fraud.
Katie Wagner, email@example.com, (443) 458-8480