To enforce the import provisions of their Marine Mammal Protection Act the United States have proposed a rule that establishes conditions for evaluating a harvesting nation’s regulatory program for reducing marine mammal incidental mortality and serious injury in fisheries. Countries exporting fish and fish products to the U.S. will need to demonstrate having measures in place (for identified fisheries) that are comparable in effectiveness to those in place for U.S. fisheries for reducing marine mammal incidental mortality and serious injury.
- Seafood products that do not meet the U.S. standard could be barred from entering U.S. markets.
- The final rule was published August 2016. Government and industry stakeholders are currently reviewing final rule.
- In 2017, the U.S. will develop a List of Foreign Fisheries which export products to the U.S. The list will be based on information provided by harvesting nations and will classify fisheries as “exempt” or “export” fisheries.
- In 2021, the year prior to the end of the 5-year exemption to the import prohibitions, all fisheries on the List of Foreign Fisheries will need to apply for a comparability finding.
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is working with lobster harvester organizations and the LCC is ensuring that the exporting sector is kept aware of the ongoing process.