COUNTRY OF ORIGIN LABELING
Over the past several years, the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers (ABSC or Crabbers) have worked to advance policies aimed at combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, particularly of illegal Russian crab which continues to negatively impact domestic crab fishermen. Our efforts have contributed to the following successes: ratification of the United Nations Port State Measures Treaty, passage of legislation to strengthen NOAA’s enforcement authority to combat IUU fishing, and creation of the IUU task force which led to the creation of the IUU traceability rule (Seafood Import and Monitoring Program or SIMP) and the Trusted Trader program.
The Seafood Import and Monitoring Program, implemented in 2018, is run by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS or NOAA Fisheries) and traces seafood from its origin to entry in to the US border in an effort to stop IUU seafoods, such as illegal Russian crab, from entering our country.
The Crabbers continue to work at the national level and to support NOAA Fisheries for their efforts on combating IUU fishing. In addition to the work NOAA Fisheries is doing to combat IUU fishing, the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers are seeking country of origin labeling (also called COOL) for crab so that consumers know where their seafood comes from. Country of origin labeling is required for seafood products if they are not adulterated (i.e., raw or frozen seafood). However, country of origin labeling is not required for cooked or canned seafood such as crab, shrimp, and tuna. The Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers want to require cooked crab to be subject to the same COOL requirements as other seafood products. This will help differentiate illegally harvested Russian crab from sustainable domestic product by requiring retailers to let consumers know where the crab they are buying was harvested.