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Seafood Import Monitoring Rules to be Enforced with Informed Compliance Approach

Thursday, December 21, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

New permitting, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements for imports of certain fish and fish products identified as being at particular risk of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing or seafood fraud will become mandatory Jan. 1, 2018. However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that the National Marine Fisheries Service will initially adopt an informed compliance approach to these requirements under the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. CBP notes that over the last year NMFS has worked with importers, exporters, brokers/filers, software developers, and other stakeholders to facilitate compliance with the SIMP rules and that efforts have been underway to ensure that filers have the awareness, understanding, and support necessary to correctly file data electronically.

According to a CBP administrative message, NMFS will work with CBP and filers to facilitate their full and timely compliance with SIMP without impeding the release and clearance of shipments that may be somewhat deficient or misconfigured at the time of entry filing. Specifically, if submissions with SIMP data are rejected and cannot be resolved in a timely manner, they may be refiled under the same entry without the SIMP data message set and will be released with a “PGA DATA MSNG FOR HTS – NO ACTION REQD” warning for SIMP as long as all other requirements are met.

Any SIMP filings released without a full and correct SIMP message set must be corrected as soon as possible and updated in the International Trade Data System in accordance with the CBP entry process. Incomplete filings that are not corrected in a timely manner will be targeted for a full chain of custody audit. Those engaged in the import, export, or re-export of covered species must also comply with all other requirements of NOAA trade monitoring programs.

If submissions with SIMP data are rejected and cannot be resolved by the filer, filers should contact NMFS at SIMPsupport@noaa.gov or call the SIMP support line at 301-427-8301 with an explanation of the problem. 

CBP states that NMFS intends to transition away from these informed compliance measures as soon as possible and will offer further guidance regarding their duration. At the time of transition all SIMP data will be required for an entry to receive a “may proceed.”

Filers are also reminded that SIMP includes a records retention provision and that all entries subject to SIMP may be audited and will be subject to enforcement action beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

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