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Foreign Fisheries to be Subject to Regulatory Requirements for Exports to U.S.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is inviting public comments through 1 May on its draft 2020 list of foreign fisheries, which reflects available information on marine mammal interactions in commercial fisheries exporting fish and fish products to the United States.

Under the import provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, fish or fish products cannot be imported into the United States from commercial fishing operations that result in the incidental mortality or serious injury of marine mammals in excess of U.S. standards. By 1 January 2022, a harvesting nation must apply for and receive a finding that its regulatory programme addressing marine mammal incidental mortality and serious injury is comparable in effectiveness to that of the United States for each of its export and exempt fisheries on the LOFF to continue to export fish and fish products to the United States.

The draft LOFF, which updates one issued in 2017, comprises 129 nations or economies with 906 exempt fisheries (up from 720) and 1,990 export fisheries (down from 3,270). Exempt fisheries have no known or a remote likelihood of marine mammal by-catch and must therefore meet only those conditions related to the prohibition of intentional killing or injury of marine mammals to receive a comparability finding. Export fisheries have more than a remote likelihood of marine mammal by-catch or insufficient information available on marine mammal interactions and as a result must also maintain regulatory programmes comparable in effectiveness to that of the United States for reducing incidental marine mammal by-catch. All fisheries that export to the United States must be on the LOFF.

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