The National Marine Fisheries Service is accepting through Feb. 29, 2016, comments on a proposed rule that would revise procedures and requirements for filing import, export and reexport documentation for certain fishery products.

Under this proposed rule, a new international fisheries trade permit would consolidate existing international trade permits for regulated seafood products under the Highly Migratory Species International Trade Permit program and the Antarctic Marine Living Resources program and expand the scope of the permit requirement to include regulated seafood products under the Tuna Tracking and Verification Program. These programs collect information from the seafood industry regarding the origin of certain fishery products to determine their admissibility in accordance with the criteria of the trade measure or documentation requirements in effect.

To obtain the IFTP, U.S. importers, exporters and reexporters of seafood products covered under these programs would be required to electronically submit their application and fee via a website designated by NMFS. The IFTP holder or a representative would need to electronically provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection via the Automated Commercial Environment with certain data sets (i.e., a subset of the information required to be submitted under the TTVP, AMLR or HMS ITP programs) and scanned images of documentation for each applicable trade transaction. NMFS would provide detailed information regarding submission of such data sets and documentation in a compliance guide for industry that would be prepared in advance of implementation of a final rule.

Because NMFS will have access to the International Trade Data System, importers, exporters, reexporters and/or their customs agents would no longer be required to provide NMFS with paper copies of trade documentation. However, they would still need to maintain, and make available for inspection, electronic or paper versions of said records at their place of business for two years after the transaction. Other documents not required for import/export admissibility decisions would not be affected by this proposed rule and would continue to be submitted to NMFS as paper copies.


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