US boosts farmed shrimp safeguards

THE United States is proposing to make life fairer for some of its aquaculture businesses by implementing a first ever traceability programme for the country’s farmed shrimp and abalone sector.
The NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration), the government organisation which oversees the fishing industry, has already asked for public comments on the proposed legislation.
Although the US has a sizeable shrimp farming industry of its own, the country remains a huge importer of the popular seafood.
The problem is that there are strong suspicions that not all imports are from legal or sustainable sources.
Once approved, the new rules will establish comparable reporting requirements to those required for imported seafood products under the Seafood Import Monitoring Programme (generally known as SIMP).
Congress has directed the Secretary of Commerce to establish this domestic traceability programme by the end of this year, although compliance began several months ago.
The NOAA maintains SIMP and the traceability system it has established allows for better data collection and retention, sharing, and analysis among relevant regulators and enforcement authorities for imported seafood—marking a significant step forward for addressing illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud.
The NOAA said: ‘Establishing comparable requirements for domestic aquaculture produced shrimp and abalone allows imports of shrimp and abalone to be subject to SIMP requirements— further levelling the playing field for US fishermen, aquaculture producers, and seafood producers who play by the rules.’
It also says it is committed to working more closely with the US aquaculture producers.

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