IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
September 21, 2012
Mr. Begich introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
To enhance national seafood marketing efforts through the creation of a National Seafood Marketing and Development Fund, Regional Seafood Marketing Boards and a National Coordinating Committee and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as
National Seafood Marketing and
Development Act of 2012.
Findings and purposes
Congress makes the following findings:
The fishery resources of the United States are valuable and renewable natural resources that provide a major source of employment and contribute significantly to the food supply, economy, and health of the United States.
Increased consumption of seafood would provide significant nutritional and health benefits for many people in the United States and help to reduce childhood obesity.
The fishery resources of the United States are not fully developed and utilized because of underdeveloped markets.
United States seafood companies have the potential to expand their contribution to interstate and foreign commerce, favorably affecting the balance of trade.
A national program for marketing seafood is needed to realize the full potential of the fishery resources of the United States and to assure that the people of the United States benefit from the employment, food supply, and revenue that could be generated by such realization.
The purposes of this Act are—
to improve and expand markets for seafood and strengthen the competitive position of the United States in domestic and international markets;
to encourage the sustainable development and utilization of the seafood resources of the United States through enhancement of markets, promotion, and public education;
to assist growers, harvesters, and processors in improving the safety, traceability, quality, marketability, and sustainability of United States seafood products;
to assist growers, harvesters, and processors of United States seafood products in the development and promotion of markets for seafood and improve coordination of their marketing activities; and
to educate and inform consumers about the nutritional and health benefits of seafood.
In this Act:
The term Board means a Regional Seafood Marketing Board established under section 4.
The term consumer education means actions undertaken to inform consumers on matters related to the consumption of seafood products.
The term Fund means the National Seafood Marketing and Development Fund established by section 5.
The term grower means any person in the business of growing or farming seafood.
The term harvester means any person in the business of harvesting seafood from the wild.
The term marketer means any person in the business of selling seafood in the wholesale, retail, or restaurant trade, but whose primary business function is not the processing or packaging of seafood in preparation for sale.
Marketing and promotion
The term marketing and promotion means an activity aimed at encouraging the consumption of seafood or expanding or maintaining commercial markets for seafood.
The term person means any individual, group of individuals, partnership, corporation, association, cooperative, or any private entity organized or existing under the laws of the United States or any State, commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.
The term processor means any person in the business of preparing or packaging seafood (including seafood of the processor’s own harvesting) for sale.
The term research means any study or project designed to advance the image, desirability, usage, marketability, production, or quality of seafood.
The term seafood means farm-raised and wild-caught fish or shellfish harvested in the United States or by a United States flagged vessel for human consumption.
The term seafood industry means harvesters, marketers, growers, processors, and persons providing them with goods and services.
Except as otherwise specifically provided, the term Secretary means the Secretary of Commerce.
The term United States, when used in the geographic sense, means the several States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other territory, possession, or commonwealth of the United States.
Regional Seafood Marketing Boards
Establishment of Regional Seafood Marketing Boards
Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish Regional Seafood Marketing Boards as follows:
Northeast Atlantic Board
The Northeast Atlantic Board shall consist of the following members:
Twelve members from the State of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Connecticut.
One member from the State of Vermont, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, or Ohio.
Mid and South Atlantic Board
The Mid and South Atlantic Board shall consist of the following members:
Twelve members from the State of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia.
One member from the State of West Virginia, Kentucky, or Tennessee.
Gulf and Caribbean Board
The Gulf and Caribbean Board shall consist of the following members:
Twelve members from the State of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, or Texas, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the territory of the Virgin Islands.
One member from the State of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, or Kansas.
The Pacific Board shall consist of the following members:
Twelve members from the State of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, or California.
One member from the State of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, or South Dakota.
West and North Pacific Board
The West and North Pacific Board shall consist of thirteen members from the State of Alaska or Hawaii or the territory of Guam or American Samoa.
Appointment of members
Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall solicit nominations for members of each Board from the public.
Prior to appointing an individual to the Board, the Secretary shall consult with and seek the recommendations of the Governors of the States in the geographical area of the Board.
Not later than 270 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall appoint the members of each Board from among the nominees received under paragraph (1) and the recommendations received under paragraph (2).
The Secretary shall ensure that the members of each Board fairly reflect the expertise and interest of the seafood industry located in the geographical area of the Board, and that the members of each Board include the following:
Three individuals with experience in harvesting.
Two individuals with experience in processing, including one having experience with large processors and one having experience with small processors.
One individual with experience in transportation and logistics.
One individual with experience in mass market food distribution.
One individual with experience in mass market food retail or food service.
One individual with experience in the marketing of seafood.
One individual recommended by a regional or State seafood marketing organization.
One individual with experience in growing seafood.
Two individuals that represent the general public and are familiar with the seafood industry as a whole.
The term for a member of a Board shall be 3 years unless the Secretary designates a shorter term to provide for staggered expirations of terms of office.
No member of a Board may serve more than 3 consecutive terms, except that a member may continue to serve on a Board beyond that member’s term until a successor is appointed.
A Board may remove a member from the Board for failure to attend 3 consecutive Board meetings without reasonable excuse, or for other cause by not less than 2/3 of the members of the Board.
Effect of vacancy
A vacancy shall not affect the ability of a Board to function.
A vacancy on a Board shall be filled by the manner in which the original appointment was made.
Per diem and expenses
A member of a Board shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed in accordance with section 5703 of title 5, United States Code, for reasonable travel costs and expenses incurred in performing duties as a member of a Board.
Each Board shall elect a chairman by a majority of those voting, if a quorum is present.
A simple majority of members of a Board shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.
Executive director, staff, administrative assistance
A Board may employ and determine the salary of an executive director, but such salary shall not exceed level II of the Executive Schedule under section 5313 of title 5, United States Code.
The individual selected as the executive director shall have demonstrated expertise in the marketing and promotion of food products.
With the approval of the Board, the executive director may select and employ additional staff as necessary without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code.
The Secretary shall provide each Board such administrative assistance as requested by the Board for purposes of its initial organization and operation.
National Coordinating Committee
The chairman and 2 members of each Board shall establish a National Coordinating Committee—
to exchange information and, if appropriate, coordinate the activities of the Boards; and
to conduct other business consistent with the policies and purposes of this Act.
The National Coordinating Committee shall meet at least once each year.
Any person may make a voluntary payment to the Secretary to assist a Board in carrying out their marketing plans. Such payments shall be disbursed to the appropriate Board from the Fund.
Annual marketing plan
Requirement for plan
Each Board may prepare an annual marketing plan that describes the consumer education, research, and other marketing activities of the Board for the following year, including the selection procedures and criteria the Board plans to use for the solicitation and awarding of grants and its plans to coordinate its activities with those of the other Boards established under this Act. Plans may include marketing activities that reference a particular brand or trade name, and may include projects designed to promote the consumption or purchase of a specific seafood species or group of similar seafood.
The purpose of each annual marketing plan shall be to—
increase consumer demand for seafood;
encourage, expand, or improve the marketing and utilization of seafood; and
improve consumer education, research, and other marketing activities regarding seafood.
Each Board shall maintain accounting records of the receipt and disbursement of all funds of the Board, which shall be subject to the review of the Secretary.
Each Board shall submit an annual report to the Secretary, detailing the expenditures of the Board.
Each Board shall keep the monies distributed to it from the Fund on deposit in appropriate interest-bearing accounts that shall be established by the Board or invested in obligations of, or guaranteed by, the United States. Any revenue accruing from such deposits and investments shall be available to the Board for carrying out its marketing plans.
Limitations on deceptive or negative marketing
Consumer education and other marketing and promotion activities of the Boards shall avoid use of deceptive or negative acts or practices on behalf of fish or fish products or with respect to the quality, value, or use of any competing product or group of products.
Requirement to make
Each Board shall make grants to persons to carry out projects subject to such terms and conditions as the Board may require, consistent with the purposes of this Act and any marketing plan the Board has adopted.
A grant made by a Board under paragraph (1) may not exceed 50 percent of the total estimated cost of the project. The remaining 50 percent shall be provided by the grantee, which may include the value of in-kind contributions from the grantee.
Each Board shall award at least 10 percent of the grant funds awarded by the Board under this paragraph each year to minority-owned, veteran-owned, or small businesses.
Conflict of interest
The conflict of interest and recusal provisions set forth in section 302(j) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1852(j)) shall apply to any decision by the Board and to all members of the Board as if each member of the Board is an affected individual within the meaning of such section 302(j), except that in addition to the disclosure requirements of section 302(j)(2)(C) of such Act, (16 U.S.C. 1852(j)(2)(C)), each Board member shall disclose any financial interest or relationship in an organization or with an individual that is applying for funding from the Board held by the Board member, including an interest as an officer, director, trustee, partner, employee, contractor, agent, or other representative.
National Seafood Marketing and Development Fund
There is established in the Treasury of the United States a fund to be known as the National Seafood Marketing and Development Fund.
Exclusive use of Fund
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all amounts in the Fund shall be used exclusively by the Secretary for making grants to the Boards under this Act and no such amount shall be transferred from the Fund for any other purpose.
Distribution of amounts
The amount available in the Fund for each fiscal year shall be disbursed by the Secretary for such fiscal year to the Boards as follows:
Eighty percent of such amount in the Fund shall be distributed equally among the Boards.
Twenty percent shall be distributed to the Boards based on a ratio of the total pounds of seafood harvested in the geographical area of each Board to the total pounds of seafood harvested in the United States.
The ratio referred to in subparagraph (B) shall be calculated by the Secretary every 3 years using data collected by the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Agriculture.
Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated to the Fund $50,000,000 for each fiscal year.