Source & Author: Francisco Blaha
I have been keeping updates on the conditions that US Seafood Import Monitoring Program establishes for imports of certain seafood products for a while now. The aim of the programme is to tackle the reporting and recordkeeping requirements needed to prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU)-caught and/or misrepresented seafood from entering U.S. commerce.
NOAA Fisheries published the final rule establishing the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) on December 9, 2016. This is the first-phase of a risk-based traceability program—requiring the importer of record to provide and report key data—from the point of harvest to the point of entry into U.S. commerce—on an initial list of imported fish and fish products identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and/or seafood fraud.
Now that legal challenge that some US based operators had is dismissed, January 1 2018 still is the mandatory compliance date for this rule.
The US importer is the central actor responsible for data collection, management, input and storage under SIMP and has ultimate responsibility for compliance. The importer of record – who must be a US citizen – is required to apply for and maintain an International Fisheries Trade Permit (IFTP), which can be purchased and issued immediately for US$30.
The importer will be required to keep records regarding the chain of custody of the fish or fish product from harvest to point of entry into the US and to have these data available in the event of an audit, even if the importer of record works with a customs broker in order to submit required data into the ITDS.
NOAA has just published some model forms (something I didn’t expect them to do!) on top of the Q&A guidance document I quoted before. The model forms are:
The Catch Certificate, (also in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Mandarin Chinese, Tagalog, Indonesian, Vietnamese) and the Aggregated Catch Certificate, (also in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Mandarin Chinese, Tagalog, Indonesian, Vietnamese)
The usual advice applies, the earlier your sort yourself out for this the better, yet be ready for a lot of problems to appear, if something we learned from the EU one is that there will be 10000 scenarios that are not covered and we (in the exporting countries) will have to improvise…
 IFTP information and application is available at: https://fisheriespermits.noaa.gov/npspub/pub_cmn_login/index_live.jsp
FFA has published a briefing and analysis of the regulation, very nicely written by Elizabeth Havice. It can be downloaded from here.