Foreign Fisheries to be Subject to Regulatory Requirements for Exports to U.S.
The National Marine Fisheries Service is inviting public comments through May 1 on its draft 2020 list of foreign fisheries, which reflects available information on marine mammal interactions in commercial fisheries exporting fish and fish products to the U.S.
Under the import provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, fish or fish products cannot be imported into the U.S. from commercial fishing operations that result in the incidental mortality or serious injury of marine mammals in excess of U.S. standards. By Jan. 1, 2022, a harvesting nation must apply for and receive a finding that its regulatory program addressing marine mammal incidental mortality and serious injury is comparable in effectiveness to that of the U.S. for each of its export and exempt fisheries on the LOFF to continue to export fish and fish products to the U.S.
The draft LOFF, which updates one issued in 2017, comprises 129 nations or economies with 906 exempt fisheries (up from 720) and 1,990 export fisheries (down from 3,270). Exempt fisheries have no known or a remote likelihood of marine mammal bycatch and must therefore meet only those conditions related to the prohibition of intentional killing or injury of marine mammals to receive a comparability finding. Export fisheries have more than a remote likelihood of marine mammal bycatch or insufficient information available on marine mammal interactions and as a result must also maintain regulatory programs comparable in effectiveness to that of the U.S. for reducing incidental marine mammal bycatch. All fisheries that export to the U.S. must be on the LOFF.