Background

The Department of Commerce is accepting comments through Sept. 6 on a proposed rule that would make a number of revisions to its regulations concerning illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and associated import restrictions, including the following.

- clarifying the effect of negative certification of a nation, including the duration of such a certification and the related denial of port privileges and import restrictions on fish or fish products

- limiting the applicability of provisions for denial of port privileges and import prohibition to identified nations that receive a negative certification under the Moratorium Protection Act

- adding two new elements to the regulatory definition of IUU fishing for identifications and certifications: (1) fishing in waters under the jurisdiction of a nation without its permission or in contravention of its laws and regulations, and (2) fishing activities in waters beyond any national jurisdiction that involve the use of forced labor

- (1) establishing the criteria for denial of port access or port privileges to a vessel known to be engaged in IUU fishing or for which there are reasonable grounds to believe it to be so engaged, (2) expanding the set of information required to be submitted by foreign vessels when they request entry into U.S. ports, and (3) specifying the criteria under which port entry and access to port privileges is authorized or denied

- expanding to three years the time period for which a nation’s fishing activities will be considered for identification for IUU fishing (from two years), for bycatch of protected living marine resources (from one year), and for fishing activities that target or incidentally catch sharks in waters beyond any national jurisdiction without having adopted a regulatory program comparable to that of the U.S. (from one year)

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