The United States Federal Government Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) requires seafood importers to be bonded. The three parties of this bond include the obligee, the principal, and the surety company. NOAA is the obligee, the seafood importer is the principal, and the surety company underwrites and ensures the bond.
The NOAA Seafood Inspection Program
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has put in place a seafood inspection program which operates domestically in the United States and non-domestically to foreign countries.
Some of the services the NOAA offers are:
- Third party verification activities for foreign processors
- Auditing training (HACCP principals)
- On-site implementation on HACCP process controls
- Export certification resources
In order to import seafood products into the U.S., importers and foreign importers must abide by the FDA’s HACCP regulations for fish and fishery products. Some of the regulations include training, sanitary practices, HACCP process controls, and product specifications.
Questions about this inspection program can be emailed to [email protected]
What is the Seafood Inspection Surety Bond and What Does It Do?
NOAA form 89-801 (the bond form) ensures the principal will legally follow all rules and regulations of the NOAA seafood inspection program, along with the federal government’s laws. The bond legally protects the obligee and the public from the importer’s misconduct that would cause harm.
The surety bond is an agreement between the three parties that the principal will act accordingly to what is stated in the bond. If the seafood importer acts fraudulently, then the surety company will cover the claim filed against the bond.
Obligee and Bonding Requirements
It is a good idea for the principal to be informed on all bonding requirements before applying for a bond. If the principal acts fraudulently and a claim is filed against the bond, then the surety company will pay for all paid claims which the principal must pay back to the surety.
As stated above, the obligee for this bond is the United States Federal Government Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That means if a claim is filed against the bond, the obligee will always be legally and financially protected by the bond.
Bond Amount and Bond Costs
The cost for the bond is also referred to as the bond premium. The bond premium is only a small percentage of the bond amount.
The bond amount is set by the federal government, and is the amount of coverage the surety company will pay out to the party harmed if a claim is filed against the bond. Each state sets its own bond amount, so it’s a good idea for the principal to verify the exact bond amount before applying for the bond with a surety company.
For example, in Florida, the Florida Wholesale Seafood surety bond amount is set at $10,000. That means if the seafood importer acts against the bond, up to $10,000 will be paid out to the parties that filed the claim.
The price to renew a bond is usually much lower than the original price for the bond. The bond must be renewed before the bond’s expiration date in order for the bond to remain valid and legal to use.