President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday aimed at strengthening the domestic seafood industry by streamlining the approval of aquaculture sites and federal review, as the global food supply chain becomes strained amid the CCP virus pandemic.
The president in his executive order said he hopes to strengthen the American economy, improve the competitiveness of American industry, ensure food security, and provide environmentally safe and sustainable seafood. The order also aims to support American workers, ensure coordinated, predictable, and transparent federal actions, and remove unnecessary regulatory burdens, Trump said in a statement.
An administrative trade task force, named the “Seafood Trade Task Force,” will be formed by the secretary of commerce to identify unfair trade barriers and look for new markets for domestic seafood products, the order states.
The task force will be made up of top administration officials, including the secretary of state, secretaries of the interior, agriculture and Homeland Security; the director of Office of Management and Budget; the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; and the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The executive order supports research in the fisheries sector, abolishes nonessential, “outdated,” and “burdensome” regulations on commercial fishermen, and combats illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Trump in his order said he aims to promote domestic seafood, as the order’s reforms will allow producers to make better use of resources in the United States.
“Despite America’s bountiful aquatic resources, by weight our nation imports over 85 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States,” the executive order reads.
“At the same time, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing undermines the sustainability of American and global seafood stocks, negatively affects general ecosystem health, and unfairly competes with the products of law-abiding fishermen and seafood industries around the world.”
Additional reforms to fishery regulations and offshore aquaculture “have the potential to revolutionize American seafood production, enhance rural prosperity, and improve the quality of American lives,” Trump said.
Under the order, imported seafood also will be held to the same food-safety requirements as U.S. products.
Regional fishery management councils will be given 180 days by the secretary of commerce to submit “a prioritized list of recommended actions to reduce burdens on domestic fishing and to increase production within sustainable fisheries, including a proposal for initiating each recommended action within 1 year of the date of this order,” the order states.
The reforms have the “potential to revolutionize American seafood production, enhance rural prosperity, and improve the quality of American lives,” Trump added.
Statement From @SecretaryRoss on President Donald J. Trump’s Signing of the Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth https://t.co/lTOJWYw62v pic.twitter.com/YVWwRqqXpM
— U.S. Commerce Dept. (@CommerceGov) May 7, 2020
In a statement, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said that the president took “bold action” in moving to “secure America’s place as a seafood superpower.”
“America is an ocean nation with the laws, the resources, the tools, and the expertise to be a seafood superpower,” Ross said Thursday. “Unfortunately and unnecessarily, our country overwhelmingly relies on imports to meet our seafood demands.”
“This action allows for job creation that will put Americans back to work while prioritizing delivery of safe, sustainable, and healthy food on American tables. Thank you to President Trump for your leadership on this and for putting American fishermen first.”