Traceability implies that a seafood product purchased at a restaurant or retailer may be traced through the supply chain, back to the point of harvest (vessel or farm), including hatchery and feed mill sources. Traceability is accomplished by documenting the product chain of custody, record keeping, and proper handling protocols during processing, shipping, and receiving to ensure that products are tracked accurately.
Implementing traceability requires investment, cooperation, and transparency across seafood supply chains. However, when shared, traceability information about where seafood came from, who caught it, how it was caught, and how it was handled or processed may support efforts to detect and deter, seafood fraud, labor abuse, overfishing, and support a range of other business functions. The ultimate goal is to have end-to-end, electronic, interoperable traceability in place throughout global seafood supply chains.
For more guidance, see FishWise’s Advancing Traceability in the Seafood Industry: Assessing Challenges and Opportunities.
Creating and administering a program to collect useful data from fishing activities is a collaborative and valuable undertaking for governments and companies alike. Once collected, multiple stakeholders may use this data to achieve ecological, social, and economic goals. Building that triple-impact, or ‘comprehensive’, approach into the design and implementation of a country’s electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) program is one method to help meet all three goals.
The Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability (SALT)—a global community of governments, the seafood industry, and non-governmental organizations implemented by FishWise—advanced six principles for developing comprehensive eCDT programs.
Pathway to the Principles, which provides detailed guidance for implementation, is also available.
Several multi-stakeholder initiatives have arisen to support and expand traceability efforts within the seafood industry.
Read about more efforts in the RISE Community.
In addition to collaborative efforts, businesses may take steps within their own company and supply chain to improve traceability. The goal of these steps is to communicate traceability and legality expectations to supply chains and create systems to track harvest location, date, total weight, method of harvest and other KDEs: