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Tuna Importation Requirements

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Online Compliance Guide for the Importation of Tuna - effective September 20, 2016

This online Compliance Guide summarizes the National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) permitting and reporting requirements associated with the importation of tunas of the genus Thunnus and for skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis or Euthynnus pelamis) on or after September 20, 2016. If there is a discrepancy between the regulations and this guide, the regulation will take precedence:

In addition, NMFS is responsible for the enforcement of embargoes of imported tuna. The embargoes apply to yellowfin tuna and yellowfin tuna products harvested by purse seine in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (by certain nations). It is highly recommended you confirm the product you intend to import is not subject to an embargo before purchasing.

Also, the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NMFS, (Assistant Administrator) has issued a determination, under the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act, of regular and significant mortality and serious injury of dolphins in gillnet fisheries harvesting tuna by vessels flagged under the Governments of India, Iran, Mozambique, Pakistan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. This determination triggers additional documentation requirements for tuna product, marketed as or included on the label of that product the term “dolphin safe” and that was harvested on fishing trips that began on or after November 28, 2016.  Additional documentation requirements include a statement by the observer.  Currently, no observer programs that may be associated with these gillnet fisheries and harvested by vessels flagged under the above named governments have been determined to be acceptable by the Assistant Administrator.  Therefore, until further notice, importers interested in importing such tuna into the United States will be unable to satisfy current documentary requirements for “dolphin safe” tuna product.

Failure to comply with the requirements and deadlines of the import monitoring programs detailed below is a violation of federal law for which significant penalties, including forfeiture of imported product, may be assessed. All such violations are referred to the NOAA Office for Law Enforcement for appropriate action. If you believe you may have violated federal law, NMFS strongly recommends that you immediately self-report the violation to the NOAA Office for Law Enforcement.

As a reference, the common name and scientific name for tuna species are shown below:

To begin using this online compliance guide, click on the link that answers the following question:

What type of tuna product are you importing?

Fresh Product

What tuna species are you importing?

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Frozen Product

What tuna species are you importing?
(Please select from one of the three choices shown below)

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In Airtight Containers, Prepared or Preserved Loins, or Balls and Cakes

Does your product contain Atlantic Bluefin, Pacific Bluefin, or Southern Bluefin tuna?

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Updated: May 18, 2017