WASHINGTON (CN) – Fish product importers must certify that the technology used to catch the fish meets U.S. standards designed to reduce incidental catch of marine mammals, under a proposed rule from the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The agency’s action is called for in the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Under the Act the short term goal in protecting marine mammals is to reduce their bycatch below the level at which the stock of the species in question could not survive if the bycatch continued. The long term goal is reduce bycatch to insignificant levels.
Nations wishing to import fish products to the U.S. must be certified by the Secretary of Commerce to show that they have taken regulatory measures in their own country to limit marine mammal bycatch and must submit documentary evidence that their fishing fleets maintain the equipment and methods necessary to reduce the incidence of bycatch.
The agency seeks input from stakeholders regarding the proposed rule.