WASHINGTON (December 9, 2016) – WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) welcomed the new rule creating the Seafood Import Monitoring Program released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which establishes reporting and recordkeeping requirements to help prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU)-caught seafood and misrepresented seafood from reaching U.S. markets. The following statement was released by John F. Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs:

“Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud are significant problems that threaten vulnerable marine life and undermine efforts to build sustainable fisheries.

“WCS welcomes the Seafood Import Monitoring Program rule and views it as a good step toward conserving vulnerable marine species. This will provide additional protections for our national economy, global food security and the sustainability of our shared ocean resources.

“We are especially happy to see the inclusion of sharks in the rule.  Like many other species that are especially at risk for IUU fishing and seafood fraud, sharks are very vulnerable to overfishing and market demand for products from these fish, including fins and meat, has led to many species to become depleted and in need of protection. We look forward to the program expanding to include other vulnerable species such as skates and rays in the future.

“WCS, through its New York Aquarium-based Marine Program, is a leader on ocean conservation, including a recently announced $48 million commitment for the world’s marine protected areas, and we are pleased to see more progress on this front.”