Rules and Regulations Governing the Rhode Island Seafood Brand and the Mislabeling of Marine Species (250-RICR-40-20-13)

250-RICR-40-20-13 ACTIVE RULE

My Page Title



13.3Administrative Findings



13.6General Requirements

13.7Mislabeling of Marine Species




13.11Appendix 1

Title 250 Department of Environmental Management
Chapter 40 Agriculture and Resource Marketing
Subchapter 20 Marketing
Part 13 Rules and Regulations Governing the Rhode Island Seafood Brand and the Mislabeling of Marine Species (250-RICR-40-20-13)
Type of Filing Direct Final Amendment
Regulation Status Active
Effective 06/08/2022

Regulation Authority:

R.I. Gen. Laws Title 20
Chapters 42-17.1
and 42-17.7
and §§ 2-1-8 and 2-1-9
Chapters 21-31 and 23-1
Chapter 42-35

Purpose and Reason:

These regulations were promulgated by DEM in 2013 to provide a regulatory framework for the then-newly established Rhode Island Seafood Brand, aka logo. The brand was trademarked by DEM in 2013 prior to promulgation of the regulations.
The regulations were based on guidance provided by the Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative (RIGL Chapter 20-38). In 2013, there was general consensus that use of the brand should be well controlled to uphold its purpose and prevent misuse. The regulations established a process that enabled licensed seafood dealers to become authorized users of the brand upon application to and approval by DEM. Upon approval, authorized dealers could then use the brand on packaging that contained Rhode Island seafood. Following the chain of custody, markets and restaurants that purchased Rhode Island seafood from authorized dealers could also use the brand.
For a brief period following promulgation, a small number of dealers applied for and received authorization to use the brand. That process quickly faded. No one has applied to use the brand in many years, and no one has raised any interest in the process. 
Despite the ineffectualness of the original regulatory framework, the brand itself has retained its original spirit and intent and continues to serve as a premier marketing tool. That use will increase in 2022 as DEM and the Collaborative embark on a comprehensive statewide RI seafood promotion and marketing campaign. The RI Seafood Brand is ideally positioned to serve as the flagship for the campaign. Thus, it is an opportune time to revisit and revise the regulations governing use of the brand, to help align it with current needs and expectations and ensure it meets its purpose for the campaign.
The proposed revisions address the following main objectives:
? Continue and expand use of the brand as a major marketing tool
? Preserve the brand’s legal integrity, i.e., a brand that means what it says
? Simplify the regulatory framework associated with the brand
Key elements of new approach, as proposed:
? Use of the brand is no longer restricted to licensed dealers who apply to DEM for authorization, and those who purchase RI seafood products from those dealers.
? The new approach would allow anyone to use the brand for the general purpose of promoting RI seafood.
? Additionally, the new approach would allow anyone licensed to sell RI seafood in RI to use the logo to identify, market, and sell RI seafood. Such licensees would include all licensed dealers, wholesalers, and retailers, and harvesters/growers licensed to sell direct. The sole condition governing this use is that anyone using the logo for this purpose must be able to verify that the product identified, marketed, and/or sold as RI seafood is RI seafood.
o Since all seafood landed or grown in RI must be recorded in DEM’s dealer-reporting (SAFIS) data base, and since all seafood sold in RI must be from an approved source (per DOH), there is a de facto sourcing requirement and system already in effect in RI that can be used to verify RI seafood. The new approach recognizes and codifies this existing sourcing system as a way to uphold the integrity of the logo. In so doing, the new approach imposes no new regulatory requirements. It simply requires licensed seafood sellers in RI to be able to verify the source of seafood identified, marketed, and/or sold as RI seafood, if using the RI seafood brand for that purpose.
o The new approach would also apply in the same way to RI seafood that is donated, if using the RI seafood logo to support of that activity.
? There are no proposed changes to the incorporation by reference of the existing prohibition pertaining to the mislabeling of marine species or products, administered by DOH.
? Lastly, the new approach would scale back the penalty provisions. DEM’s authority to suspend a seller’s authorization to use of the brand if found guilty of using it improperly would be retained. DOH’s authority to take appropriate action against anyone found guilty of mislabeling a species/product would also be retained.