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The Global Combat Against IUU Fishing: The United States Proposes a New Seafood Traceability Program

  • Bruno G. Simões (a1) and Tobias Dolle (a1)

Extract

On 5 February 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (hereinafter, NOAA),within the United States (hereinafter, US) Department of Commerce, published a Proposed Rule to create a seafood traceability programme. The programme intends to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (hereinafter, IUU) fishing, prevent fraudulent trade and to serve as the contribution of the US to the global action to combat IUU fishing, along the lines of other similar regulatory frameworks, such as the EU's extensive regulationon IUU fishing. However, despite the legitimate objectives of the measure, it is imperative that regulators take into account the potential consequences for international trade when designing such programmes.

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1 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; Seafood Import Monitoring Program, A Proposed Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 02/05/2016, available on the Internet at <https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/02/05/2016-02216/magnuson-stevens-fishery-conservation-and-management-act-seafood-import-monitoring-program> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

2 As defined in the UN FAO International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, FAO, Rome 2001. It was developed as a voluntary instrument, within the framework of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The IPOA-IUU was adopted by consensus at the Twenty–fourth Session of Committee on Fisheries (COFI 24) on 2 March 2001 and endorsed by the Hundred and Twentieth Session of the FAO Council on 23 June 2001.

3 NOAA Fisheries, Presidential Initiative on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud, available on the Internet at <http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ia/iuu/taskforce.html> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

4 Presidential Task Force on Combating IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud, Action Plan for Implementing the Task Force Recommendations, 15 March 2015, available on the Internet at <http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ia/iuu/noaa_taskforce_report_final.pdf> (last accessed 5 May 2016). 5 All documents have been made available through the US Government and are available on the Internet. Regulations.gov, Magnuson- Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; Seafood Import Monitoring Program Docket Folder Summary, <https://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;rpp=100;so=DESC;sb=docId;po=0;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0122> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

6 The system is based on Council Regulation (EC) No. 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU Regulation), as amended; and Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1010/2009 of 22 October 2009 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1005/2008 establishing a community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (Implementing Regulation), as amended, OJ L 280, 27.10.2009.

7 Annex III to the IUU Regulation defines the information that the flag State notification must contain.

8 For example, in 2014, Canada was the second largest importer of seafood into the US. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Inside the United States - The Fish and Seafood Trade, November 2015, Market Access Secretariat, Global Analysis Report, available on the Internet at <http://www5.agr.gc.ca/resources/prod/Internet-Internet/MISB-DGSIM/ATS-SEA/PDF/6676-eng.pdf> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

9 Christine Blank, SeaFoodSource.com, Exclusive: Canada fisheries protest US-proposed IUU rule, 3 March 2016, available on the Internet at <http://www.seafoodsource.com/news/supply-trade/exclusive-canada-fisheries-protest-us-proposed-iuu-rule> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

10 WTO News, WTO members weigh in on measures to tackle illegal fishing, 6 October 2015, available on the Internet at <https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news15_e/envir_06oct15_e.htm> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

11 See in particular the proposals by the ACP states (WTO Document TN/RL/W/267) and by New Zealand (WTO Document TN/RL/W/261).

12 Paragraphs 67 and 68 of UN General Assembly Resolution A /RES/68/71 on Sustainable fisheries, including through the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and related instruments of 9 December 2013.

13 Report of the Thirty-first Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI 31) Rome, 9-13 June 2014, FIPI/R1101 (En).

14 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Report of the Expert Consultation on Establishing Guidelines for Catch Documentation Schemes (CDS), FIPM/R1120 (En). 15 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Report of the Expert Consultation on Establishing Guidelines for Catch Documentation Schemes (CDS), FIPM/R1120 (En), p. 3, available on the Internet <http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5063e.pdf> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

16 Committee on Fisheries, Fifteenth Session, COFI:FT/XV/2016/5, p. 3, available on the Internet <ftp://ftp.fao.org/FI/DOCUMENT/COFI/cofift_15/5e.pdf> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

17 Andrew Sharpless, CEO Note: U.S. Administration's Actions to Combat IUU Fishing Are a Commendable but Insufficient Start, 18 February 2016, available on the Internet at <http://oceana.org/blog/ceo-note-us-administration%E2%80%99s-actions-combat-iuu-fishing-are-commendable-insufficient-start> (last accessed 5 May 2016); Oceana, Presidential Task Force Takes Bold Steps to Address IUU Fishing & Seafood Fraud, 4 February 2016, available on the Internet at <http://oceana.org/press-center/press-releases/presidential-task-force-takes-bold-steps-address-iuu-fishing-seafood> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

18 WWF, WWF Statement on Proposed Federal Regulations on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, 4 February 2016, available on the Internet at <http://www.worldwildlife.org/press-releases/wwf-statement-on-proposed-federal-regulations-on-illegal-unreported-and-unregulated-fishing> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

19 The extension was published in the Federal Register on 31 March 2016. Federal Register, The Daily Journal of the United States Government, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; Seafood Import Monitoring Program, Extension Of The Comment Period, available on the Internet at <https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/03/31/2016-07258/magnuson-stevens-fishery-conservation-and-management-act-seafood-import-monitoring-program> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

20 Final Action envisioned for August 2016 as mentioned in the regulatory docket, available on the Internet at https://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;rpp=100;so=DESC;sb=docId;po=0;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0122> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

21 Christine Blank, SeaFoodSource.com, Exclusive: Canada fisheries protest US-proposed IUU rule, 3 March 2016, available on the Internet at <http://www.seafoodsource.com/news/supply-trade/exclusive-canada-fisheries-protest-us-proposed-iuu-rule> (last accessed 5 May 2016).

* An earlier version of this report appeared in Trade Perspectives©, Issue No. 3 of 12 February 2016. Available on the Internet at: http://www.fratinivergano.eu/en/trade-perspectives.

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