US issuing new rules to curb illegal fishing, seafood fraud

Markets Associated Press

FILE - In this June 18, 2015 file photo, an ahi tuna sits packed in ice waiting to be auctioned at the United Fishing Agency in Honolulu. The Obama administration is issuing new rules it says will crack down on illegal fishing and seafood fraud by ... preventing unverifiable fish products from entering the U.S. market. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File) (The Associated Press)

The Obama administration is issuing new rules it says will crack down on illegal fishing and seafood fraud.

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The new protections are called the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. They are designed to stop illegally fished and misidentified seafood from getting into stores and restaurants in the U.S.

An arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will administer the program. The government says the rules will require seafood importers to report information and maintain records about the harvest and chain of custody of fish.

The government says the program will start by focusing on "priority species" that are especially vulnerable to illegal fishing. Those include tuna, swordfish and grouper.

The rules go on the books in January 2017 and compliance is expected a year later.