Combatting Imports of Illegally Harvested Seafood is Aim of DOC Inquiry
The Department of Commerce is seeking information by Dec. 31 regarding nations whose vessels are engaged in illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing, bycatch of protected living marine resources, and/or fishing activities in waters beyond any national jurisdiction that target or incidentally catch sharks. Information that may prove useful includes trade data supporting evidence that a nation's vessels are engaged in shark catch on the high seas; reports from off-loading facilities, port-side government officials, enforcement agents, military personnel, port inspectors, transshipment vessel workers, and fish importers; and reports from governments, international organizations, or nongovernmental organizations. Information submitted will be reviewed for the purposes of identifying nations pursuant to the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act and ongoing implementation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act Import Provisions.
The DOC is also seeking information on foreign commercial fishing operations that export fish and fish products to the U.S. and the level of incidental and intentional mortality and serious injury of marine mammals in those fisheries. This information will be used to identify harvesting nations and classify their fisheries (based on their frequency of marine mammal interactions) as either exempt or export fisheries, which will determine which regulatory requirements will be applicable to that fishery for it to receive a comparability finding necessary to export fish and fish products to the U.S.