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Presidential Initiative on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud

Draft Principles and ‘At Risk’ Species Identified for Traceability Program

The National Ocean Council Committee on IUU fishing and Seafood Fraud (NOC Committee) is seeking comment on its draft list of principles for determining species “at risk” of IUU fishing and seafood fraud, as well as a draft list of “at risk” species. These will serve as the basis for the first phase of a risk-based seafood traceability program.

The draft principles are based on public comment received earlier this year. Proposed principles include: enforcement capability for a species and the history of violations in the fishery, existence of an international catch documentation scheme, complexity of the chain of custody and processing, and history of species substitution or mislabeling, in particular where such actions raise human health concerns. 

Additionally, a draft list of species was generated utilizing these draft principles. The NOC Committee is seeking both feedback and any additional information in response to these drafts. Click here for a PDF version of the notice.

The public comment period has been extended until September 11, 2015. For more information on the submission process, please refer to the Federal Register Notice. A public webinar was held on August 25, 2015, providing an additional opportunity to provide comments. Please click the following links for a copy of the presentation and audio file.

Following a review of the comments, the NOC Committee will release a final list of principles and “at risk” species later this year.

Data Collection Processes for Traceability Program

The National Ocean Council Committee on IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud (NOC Committee) is seeking public input, through July 31, on the minimum types of information necessary for an effective seafood traceability program to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud, as well as the operational standards related to collecting, verifying and securing that data.

Examples of the types of information that may be collected include who harvested the fish, type of species, and location of harvesting. Examples of the operational standards include how data is collected, formatted, and verified.

Click here for the Federal Register Notice and instructions on submitting comments.

The NOC Committee will take the input received into consideration while finalizing recommendations that will be sent forward for appropriate agency action by September 2015.

Your Input Needed to Fight IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud

To fight seafood fraud and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the Administration is seeking public input, now through June 8, on the principles to be used in determining fish species “at risk” of these illegal activities. The draft principles list will be used to develop a draft list of species for a risk-based seafood traceability program.

Recommended principles should be measurable, have a reasonable amount of existing data to assess, and be applicable to domestic and/or international fisheries.

Comments can be submitted through the Federal Register or attending one of the following webinars:

Note: Webinar and call-in information will be sent following registration

Click here for a copy of the presentation from the public comment webinar.

Following a review of these comments, a list of draft principles will be used to develop a draft list of "at risk" species. Both the draft list of principles and the draft of "at risk" species will be published for public comment in July 2015.

Final Recommendations

On March 15, 2015, the Presidential Task Force on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud, co-chaired by the Departments of Commerce and State, released its action plan. This plan articulates the aggressive steps that federal agencies will take both domestically and internationally to implement the recommendations the Task Force made in December 2014. Learn more about the action plan here.

The plan identifies actions that will strengthen enforcement, create and expand partnerships with state and local governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations, and create a risk-based traceability program to track seafood from harvest to entry into U.S. commerce. The plan also highlights ways in which the United States will work with our foreign partners to strengthen international governance, enhance cooperation, and build capacity to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud. This includes the Administration’s work to secure historic and enforceable environmental provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional trade agreement that includes countries that together account for approximately one-quarter of global marine catch and global seafood exports.


On June 17, 2014, the White House released a Presidential Memorandum entitled “Establishing a Comprehensive Framework to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud.” Among other actions the Memorandum established a Presidential Task Force, co-chaired by the Departments of State and Commerce and made up of a broad range of other federal agencies. The Task Force was directed to report to the President within six months with “recommendations for the implementation of a comprehensive framework of integrated programs to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud that emphasizes areas of greatest need.” 

In August 2014, the Task Force initiated a public engagement process aimed at gaining broad input and expertise from key stakeholders and interest groups to inform and advise them on the development of recommendations in compliance with the Memorandum. The Task Force sought comments on topics of particular interest. The public comment period began July 31, 2014 and closed on September 2, 2014. Comments can be viewed online by going directly to and a pdf version of the FR Notice is available here.

Following a review of input from key stakeholders, the Task Force released its recommendations on December 18, 2014. The Task Force requested comments from key stakeholders and interest groups to advise on how to most effectively implement the proposed recommendations. The public comment period began December 18, 2014 and closed on January 20, 2015. The proposed recommendations can be accessed through the Federal Register Notice and a PDF of the recommendations can be found here.

The public engagement process also included 4 public meetings with Task Force representatives. Transcripts of these meetings (2 conference calls and 2 in-person meetings) can be accessed below. The presentation provided at all four public meetings can be accessed here.

  • August 13, 2014 - Conference Call: Transcript
  • August 20, 2014 - In-Person Meeting, Seattle, Washington: Transcript
  • August 27, 2014 - Conference Call: Transcript
  • August 28, 2014 - In-Person Meeting, Washington, DC: Transcript
For questions, please contact Laurel Bryant (