Tuna/Dolphin Embargo Status Update
NOAA Fisheries imposes primary nation embargos against nations that harvest yellowfin tuna in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean using purse seine vessels with more than 400 short tons carrying capacity without an affirmative finding.
The Fisheries Certificate of Origin (NOAA Form 370) is required for shipments of tuna and tuna products identified by Harmonized Tariff Schedule item numbers under 50 CFR 216.24(f) from all nations. A captain's statement or an International Dolphin Conservation Program certificate is required for all NOAA Form 370 submissions to attest to the dolphin-safe status of the tuna shipment. In addition, embargoes of certain yellowfin tuna categories are in effect. NOAA Fisheries has notified U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the determinations described below.
Primary Nations Subject to Import Prohibitions
A primary nation embargo may be imposed against any nation that harvests yellowfin tuna in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean using purse seine vessels that have more than 400 short tons (363 metric tons) carrying capacity if that nation has not received an affirmative finding from the Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. Primary nation embargoes cover all yellowfin tuna or products derived from yellowfin tuna harvested in the ETP by purse seine vessels of, or exported from, the following nations (embargoed on October 3, 2000): Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Vanuatu, and Venezuela. Fresh yellowfin tuna is exempt from the embargo.
Affirmative finding requirements and instructions for applying for an affirmative finding may be found at 50 CFR 216.24(f). Other tuna species and yellowfin tuna caught in the ETP using a fishing method other than purse seining are not subject to tuna/dolphin embargoes.
Intermediary Nations Subject to Import Prohibitions
NOAA Fisheries has not currently identified any intermediary nations.
On August 19, 2000, the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries removed the intermediary nation status of Costa Rica, Italy, and Japan, all of which had been embargoed as intermediary nations since January 31, 1992. This change in intermediary nation status was based on the lack of sufficient documentary evidence that Costa Rica, Italy, or Japan import, or ever imported, yellowfin tuna or tuna products from nations subject to a direct ban under section 101(a)(2)(B) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Additional Requirements for India, Iran, Mozambique, Pakistan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen
On September 28, 2016, the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries issued a determination—under the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act—of regular and significant mortality and serious injury of dolphins in gillnet fisheries harvesting tuna by vessels flagged under the governments of India, Iran, Mozambique, Pakistan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. This determination triggered additional documentation requirements for tuna products marketed or labeled as dolphin-safe that were harvested on fishing trips that began on or after November 28, 2016.
Additional documentation requirements include an Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission observer statement. Currently, the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has not determined any observer programs for gillnet fisheries and tuna vessels in the above-named governments to be acceptable (see Determination of Observer Programs as Qualified and Authorized by the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries).
Therefore, until further notice, importers interested in importing such tuna into the United States will be unable to satisfy current documentary requirements for dolphin-safe tuna products.
Status of Yellowfin Tuna Embargoes
List of Primary and Secondary Countries
|Primary Embargo ¹||Date of Embargo|
For general information concerning importing or exporting of tuna products, please call NOAA Fisheries at (562) 980-4073 or (562) 980-4035, or fax (562) 980-4047.
¹ Yellowfin tuna or products derived from yellowfin tuna harvested in the ETP by purse seine vessels of, or exported from, primary embargo countries.
The following countries have affirmative findings:²
|Mexico||April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2020|
|Spain||April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2020|
|Ecuador||April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2020|
|Guatemala||April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2020|
|El Salvador||April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2023|
|Peru||April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2022|
² All affirmative findings are subject to annual review. More information on affirmative findings can be found on our website.
- NOAA Form 370 Information
- NOAA Form 370 – Fisheries Certificate of Origin (PDF, 2 pages)
- Captain's Statement Templates
- Compliance Guide for the Importation of Tuna
- Harmonized Tariff Schedule for Selected Tuna and Tuna Products
- Products of Italian Origin
- Import Statistics
- Dolphin-Safe Overview
- Contact Us