A federal court ruled in favor of upholding the Seafood Import Monitoring Program, rejecting a lawsuit that would have invalidated the rule. The program helps to reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud by increasing seafood traceability. The Commerce Department program, also known as the Seafood Traceability Rule, was implemented by the US government following campaigning by Oceana. It requires seafood importers of species like tuna, grouper, swordfish, red snapper and blue crab to provide specific information before their products can enter the United States, including what kind of fish it is, as well as how and where it was caught or farmed. Oceana (represented by Earthjustice), the Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a joint amicus brief in support of the Seafood Traceability Rule.
The Peruvian government made a public commitment to make its national vessel tracking data publicly available through Global Fishing Watch. This means data for all of Peru’s fisheries will be made public, including for the country’s famous anchoveta fishery which has historically been the world’s largest fishery by weight. This decision will make Peru’s enormous and important fisheries transparent and accountable to governments, fishery managers, seafood suppliers and buyers, journalists, researchers, nonprofit organizations and citizens around the world and assist in the responsible management of these ocean resources. The commitment, which was announced at The Ocean Conference hosted by the United Nations in New York City, was the result of Oceana's collaboration with the Peruvian government to increase transparency of commercial fishing in Peru's waters.
Obama Administration Announces Final Rule to Address Illegal Fishing and Seafood Fraud in United States
The Obama administration announces its final rule to implement the Seafood Import Monitoring Program to address illegal fishing and seafood fraud in the United States. The final rule will require imported seafood at risk of illegal fishing and seafood fraud to be traced from the fishing boat or farm to the U.S. border, helping to stop illegally caught and mislabeled seafood from entering the United States.
Oceana, SkyTruth and Google Launch Global Fishing Watch, First Free, Online Tool to Reveal Commercial Fishing Activity Worldwide
Oceana, SkyTruth and Google today launched the public Beta of Global Fishing Watch, a new online technology platform that allows anyone in the world free access to monitor and track the activities of the world’s largest commercial fishing vessels in near real-time. By providing the first free global view of commercial fishing*, Global Fishing Watch delivers a powerful and unprecedented tool that can help to rebuild fish stocks and protect our oceans, which are threatened by global overfishing, illegal fishing and habitat destruction. The announcement was made in conjunction with the Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C., an international gathering of ocean leaders hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud announced its final action plan to tackle these issues. Since 2011, Oceana has worked to stop seafood fraud and ensure that all seafood sold in the U.S. is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled. Oceana has released several studies over the past few years that uncover seafood fraud, such as a 2014 study revealing that America’s favorite seafood – shrimp – was misrepresented in 30 percent of the 143 products tested and a 2013 similar study that found that 33 percent of the more than 1,200 fish samples it tested nationwide were mislabeled, according to Food and Drug Administration guidelines. President Obama directed agencies to work together to develop a robust plan to address seafood fraud and illegal fishing at Secretary of State John Kerry’s Our Ocean conference in June 2014, and Oceana applauds President Obama’s commitment to addressing seafood fraud and illegal fishing.
President Obama’s Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud delivered its draft recommendations, and were hailed as being a strong and robust first step at tackling these issues. The recommendations included domestic and international measures that help ensure seafood sold in the United States is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled—such as strengthening enforcement and increasing collaboration between state and federal governments, industry groups and more. The president established the task force in June at the global “Our Ocean” conference hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry. Oceana has actively worked to combat seafood fraud since 2011, and has released several reports on the issue, created a map that reflects that most comprehensive literature review on seafood fraud to-date, and submitted comments to the President’s Task Force this past fall.
President Obama announced an initiative to tackle seafood fraud and illegal fishing in the United States. The announcement, which was made at the global “Our Ocean” conference hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry, directs federal agencies to work together to develop a comprehensive program aimed at combatting seafood fraud and keeping illegal fish out of the U.S. market. Since 2011, Oceana has worked to expose seafood fraud in the U.S. In a nationwide study released last year, Oceana found that 33 percent of the more than 1,200 seafood samples it tested were mislabeled, according to Food and Drug Administration guidelines. Oceana hails today’s announcement as a huge victory for our wallets, our health, and our oceans.
On May 20, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed into law House Bill 1200, which tackles seafood fraud in the state. Oceana’s recent seafood fraud testing found that 18 percent of fish sampled and sold in Seattle were mislabeled. More than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported, but less than 1 percent of it is ever inspected by the government specifically for fraud. Washington’s new bill will combat seafood fraud by requiring that fish and shellfish be labeled by their common names, especially cracking down on mislabeling species of halibut and salmon.
Oceana was joined by more than 500 chefs, restaurant owners and culinary leaders in a letter calling on the United States government to require that “seafood is traceable in order to prevent seafood fraud and keep illegal fish out of the U.S. market.”
The letter, led by sustainable chef Barton Seaver, has signatories from nearly all 50 states, including top chefs Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Jacques Pepin, Eric Ripert and Michael Symon, who are all “committed to serving seafood that protects our oceans, our wallets and our health.”
The California Senate Committee on Health took a key step forward to combat rampant seafood fraud occurring in the Golden State by passing SB 1486, a seafood labeling bill with important ramifications for human health, environmental sustainability, and consumer protection. Oceana applauds the Senate Health Committee for taking a leadership role in confronting the appalling level of seafood fraud in California.
SB 1486 will serve as a catalyst to get to the heart of seafood mislabeling in California by requiring that chain restaurants with 19 or more locations provide consumers with key information about the seafood they are served including: the scientific common name of the seafood; the country in which the seafood was raised or caught; and whether the seafood was farm-raised or wild-caught. The Senate Health Committee was the first legislative committee to discuss the bill.