Less than a month for the US Government Seafood Import Monitoring Programme (SIMP) / by Francisco Blaha

As I wrote before, the US SIMP is kicking in on the 1/1/18, but the fish being caught now has to start complying. Reality is that does not seems to be too hard to comply (or cheat), particularly because it does not involve any form of verification by any authority in the flag, coastal or port states where that fish went through... which in my opinion is a pity. 

 We don't really need your government  (shouldn't be surprising, heard that one before)

We don't really need your government (shouldn't be surprising, heard that one before)

NOAA will "audit" the records of the Importers in the US to verify the system. Yet imagine the pile of records back to perhaps 20-50 landings for the import of a dozen containers of tuna cans... furthemore what does prove that the records are real (I see a bussines opportunity here) when there is no state verification? How this may stop laundering (any reference to yields monitoring)?. It seems to me like a total lost opportunity!. 

In any case here is a reminder of what it is and what you need.

The United States Government Seafood Import Monitoring Programme (SIMP) establishes, for imports of certain seafood products, the reporting and recordkeeping requirements to prevent illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing and/ or misrepresented seafood from entering the United States commerce.

SIMP is administered by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

SIMP requires harvest data to be reported at the point of entry into the United States commerce, or retained by the importer of record for imported fish or fish products identified as priority species due to the risk of IUU fishing and seafood fraud activities.

The importer of record is identified to United States Customs and Border Protection on each entry filing.

The United States importer of record will be required to obtain an International Fisheries Trade Permit (IFTP) from NOAA to report certain harvest information at the time of entry filing, and to keep records regarding the chain of custody of the fish or fish product from harvest to point of entry into the United States.

The effective start date for implementation of the SIMP is 1 January 2018. However, the United States importer of record needs to provide the required information for all seafood products covered by the SIMP entering the United States market from 1 January 2018, even if it was caught before that date.

Species covered by the first phase of the SIMP

(1) Thirteen species will be covered by the first phase of the SIMP, which is intended to expand in the future to cover all seafood:

  1. Abalone (Paua)
  2. Atlantic Cod
  3. Blue Crab (Atlantic)
  4. Dolphinfish (Mahi Mahi)
  5. e) Grouper
  6. King Crab (red)
  7. Pacific Cod
  8. Red Snapper
  9. Sea Cucumber/Beche de Mer
  10. Sharks
  11. Shrimp
  12. Swordfish
  13. Tunas: Albacore, Bigeye, Skipjack, Yellowfin, and Bluefin

Note: implementation of the SIMP requirements for abalone  and shrimp is delayed until further notice

 Information to be collected

  1. Harvesting or Producing Entity (company)
    1. Name and flag state of harvesting vessel(s)
    2. Evidence of authorisation to fish (permit or license number)
    3. Unique vessel identifier (e.g. IMO or international/national vessel registration number)
    4. Type(s) of fishing gear. Note: the fishing area and type of fishing gear should be specified per the reporting convention and codes used by the competent authority exercising jurisdiction over the wild capture operation. If no such reporting requirements exist, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) fishing area and gear codes should be used.
  2. Harvest Event –  what, when and where
    1. Species – FAO 3 - Alpha Species Codes Note the species and their FAO 3 - Alpha Species Code can be found here
    2. Harvest date(s)
    3. Product form(s) at time of landing – including quantity and weight of product
    4. Area(s) of wild - capture or aquaculture harvest. This should either be the EEZ of the country licensed or applicable FAO area where the product is not harvested within a EEZ
    5. Point(s) of first landing, whether that is the first port the product is landed into, or another vessel
    6. Name of entity(ies) to which the fish was landed or delivered.

Note: in cases where the imported shipment is comprised of more than one harvest event, each event that is relevant to the shipment must be reported. However, the importer does not need to link a particular fish or portion of the shipment to any one harvest event.

    3.Importer of record (in the US)

  1.  Name, affiliation and contact information
  2. NOAA issued IFTP number
  3. Importer of record is responsible for keeping records regarding the chain of custody detailed above
  4. Information on any transhipment of product (declarations by harvesting/ carrier vessels, bills of landing)
  5. Records on processing, reprocessing, and comingling of product.

Recommendations for exporters

It is recommended that exporters take the following action before the SIMP comes into force:

  1. Clarify who their importers of record are, confirm that importers have an IFTP, and proactively communicate with importers about the rule;
  2. Review the model certificates (available on the NOAA website – see links below) for traceability and ensure that they can provide all required information. Note that these model certificates are not required and that importers are free to develop whatever data collection format works best for their purposes, as long as they provide all required information;
  3. Work with the importer of record to determine a method for recording and submitting the required information;
  4. Where possible, encourage importers and brokers to test their import system prior to the start date of the rule to anticipate and correct any problems; and,
  5. To the extent possible, ensure you collect the required SIMP data as soon as possible, so that you are able to provide the information for exports that enter the United States on and from the 1st of January 2018. This rule applies regardless of when the product was caught.

More Information:

(1) A Compliance Guide for the SIMP can be found here

(2) Model forms can be found here: Simple and Aggregated