Plan to Combat Seafood Fraud & Illegal Fishing Announced at Seafood Expo

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A Presidential Task Force plan to combat seafood fraud and illegal fishing was announced at the 2015 Seafood Expo in Boston. Registrar Corp attended the show and is informing the industry on the details of and reasoning behind the new plan.

Oceana conducted DNA tests and found that nearly a third of the tested seafood products were misrepresented and mislabeled

Tuesday marked the end of Seafood Expo North America, the largest seafood trade event in the country. Along with networking with seafood industry professionals and discovering new products, show attendees had the option to partake in various educational speaker sessions. At one such session on Sunday, March 15, Bruce H. Andrews, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce, announced a new Presidential Task Force plan to combat international seafood fraud and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), about 90% of seafood consumed in the United States is imported from abroad and about half of that is wild-caught. A recent study by Oceana found that 20 to 32 percent of wild-caught seafood imported to the U.S. comes from illegal fishing, whether it is fish caught in closed areas, threatened or endangered fish, or fish caught with illegal gear that damages marine ecosystems. Along with this, Oceana conducted DNA tests on seafood samples over the past two years and found that nearly a third of the tested seafood products were misrepresented and mislabeled according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. In 2014, Oceana released an interactive map to show the global reach of seafood fraud.

The Presidential Task Force, which includes the NOAA, FDA, and many other U.S. governmental agencies, plans to implement a seafood tracking system that will monitor where, when, and how seafood is caught. The system will also track its path from capture to U.S. entry, such as where it is processed and stored. The tracking system will first be implemented for species with a high risk for fraud or illegal harvest. The Task Force will then use what it learns from the implementation to expand the tracking system to all seafood. The Task Force would eventually like the tracking system to include a way of informing consumers about the seafood they purchase.

According to a White House blog post, the Presidential Task Force will also take measures to "create and expand domestic partnerships to detect black market fishing and seafood fraud" and strengthen enforcement.

With increased governmental surveillance ahead for the international seafood industry, it's prudent for industry professionals to take steps to ensure compliance with U.S. requirements. Registrar Corp helps seafood companies comply with FDA regulations for exporting seafood to the USA. Registrar Corp can help seafood companies create or review their required HACCP plan, review seafood labels for FDA compliance, and more.

For information on or assistance with FDA regulations for seafood companies, contact Registrar Corp at +1-757-224-0177 or receive live help from a Regulatory Advisor 24-hours a day at http://www.registrarcorp.com/livehelp.

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David Lennarz

Liviana Callahan
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