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Michael Dautner
June 25, 2020

Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) Makes Waves

NOAA

Some really exciting news for our seafood industry customers and enthusiasts, The Seafood Import Monitoring Program is a force to be reckoned with. The Seafood Import Monitoring Program, or SIMP for short, is a risk-based traceability program requiring the U.S. importer of record to provide and report key data. Reporting capability begins at the point of harvest or catch to the point of entry into U.S. commerce, specifically on thirteen imported fish and fish products identified as either vulnerable or illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and/or seafood fraud.

In a nutshell, the SIMP program establishes reporting and record-keeping requirements for imports of thirteen species usually caught for consumption purposes. These reports serve to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated-caught and/or misrepresented seafood from entering U.S. commerce. The Seafood Import Monitoring Program offers additional protections for our national economy, global food security, and the overall conditions of our shared ocean resources.

As of January 1, 2018, compliance for the first eleven species went into effect. Compliance for shrimp products and abalone became effective as of December 31, 2018.

The SIMP program decided to designate these specific thirteen species for record keeping due to their vulnerability, ensuring that the global seafood community remains strong. For one reason or another, these thirteen species remain at risk from IUU fishing, seafood fraud, at times both.

We thought it might be helpful to list out the included thirteen species to give you an idea of how all-encompassing this program is, with major species now being closely monitored.

  • Abalone
  • Atlantic cod
  • Blue crab (Atlantic)
  • Dolphinfish (Mahi Mahi)
  • Grouper
  • King crab (red)
  • Pacific cod
  • Red snapper
  • Sea cucumber
  • Sharks
  • Shrimp
  • Swordfish
  • Tuna (Albacore, Bigeye, Skipjack, Yellowfin, Bluefin)

NOAA Fisheries leverages the International Trade Data System, the U.S. government’s single data portal for all import and export reporting in order to track these products back to the point of catch or production to determine if they were harvested or produced within the parameters of the law.

Some more information regarding the specifics of SIMP graciously provided by NOAA Fisheries:

Harvesting or Producing Entity

Name and flag state of harvesting vessel(s)

Evidence of authorization to fish, farm, or both (permit, farm registration, or license number)

Unique vessel identifier, when available

Name(s) of farm or aquaculture facility

Type(s) of fishing gear used

Note: The fishing area and type of fishing gear should be specified per the reporting convention and codes used by the competent authority exercising jurisdiction over the wild capture operation. If no such reporting requirements exist, the Food and Agriculture Organization fishing area and gear codes should be used.

Fishing: What, When, and Where

Species of fish—Aquatic Sciences Fishery Information System (ASFIS) three-alpha code

Landing or offloading date(s)

Point(s) of first landing

Product form(s) at time of landing or offloading—including quantity and weight of product

Area(s) of wild-capture or aquaculture harvest (farm address)

Name of entity(ies) to which the fish was landed or delivered

Note: In cases where entries and products comprise more than one harvest event, each event that is relevant to a shipment must be reported but the importer does not need to link each event to a particular fish or portion of the shipment.

Importer of Record

Name, affiliation, and contact information

NOAA Fisheries-issued international fisheries trade permit number

Information on any transshipment of product, such as declarations by harvesting or carrier vessels, and bills of lading

Records on processing, re-processing, and commingling of product

Note: The importer of record is responsible for keeping records regarding the chain of custody detailed above.

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