Legislation still needed to trace seafood from sea to plate


BOSTON (March 15, 2015) -- Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today hailed the release of the final recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on Combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud. Released at the Boston International Seafood Show, the task force’s recommendations include several strategies to monitor and enforce illegal fishing practices, and work with companies to better protect consumers.

"Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, the Obama administration is driving out the snakes of the seafood industry who cheat customers and fishermen alike. These recommendations will help our fishing cops to police the foreign fish fraudsters and seafood swindlers who put a drag on our fishermen's bottom lines and endanger our health," said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. "I will continue to push for legislation that allows seafood to be tracked from the ocean to the store to our plates, so consumers have the confidence that the fish they buy is the fish they get."


In October, 2014, Senators Markey and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) wrote Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, urging them and their Task Force to create a comprehensive framework that encourages interagency coordination and use of existing authority for enforcement, addresses catch documentation and traceability requirements, and provides consumers with important information about their seafood. The Senators also requested that the Task Force provide additional opportunities for stakeholders to comment on the Task Force’s recommendations. Senator Markey and Senator Wicker’s full letter can be found HERE.


Senator Markey and Senator Wicker wrote President Obama in January 2014 requesting that he direct federal agencies to better coordinate their efforts to fight seafood fraud. The full letter can be found HERE. In June 2014, the White House announced the formation of the Presidential Task Force on Combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud.


In 2012, then-Rep. Markey introduced his SAFE Seafood Act to crack down on foreign fish fraudsters, increase inspection regimes, and provide agencies with the resources to enforce laws that would protect American fishermen from fraud. Senator Wicker is a cosponsor of the Senate version of the SAFE Seafood Act.


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