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Examining issues of traceability & IUU fishing

Posted by Mike Crispino
13 November 2012

This year FishWise released a white paper on traceability in the seafood industry.  The paper, which was discussed in an excellent workshop during the 2012 Seafood Summit in Hong Kong, noted the many barriers that prevent the seafood industry from implementing 100 percent traceable supply chains, including geography, technology, resources, and business challenges.  Scale varies greatly throughout supply chains, which means that one solution may not work best for all companies; limitations in resources, database expertise and IT staff mean that technical systems may not be implemented or work properly; and concerns about competitors may make industry partners reluctant to share information about their supply chain.

However, despite the numerous challenges facing the effort to achieve full traceability, it is an essential component of the effort to reduce IUU fishing.  That is why groups like ISSF and FishWise are focusing so much energy on it. In fact, FishWise even highlighted our continued push for tuna vessels to obtain unique vessel identifiers (UVIs), like IMO numbers.

The FishWise report recommends that companies plan to incorporate traceability into their business plans and communicate their expectations to their supply chains.  They can then capture records electronically and share them throughout the supply chain, bringing the industry closer to full traceability.   The authors also note that the burden of carrying out next steps shouldn’t be borne entirely by industry.  Governments should mandate traceability requirements and protocols, provide enforcement, and create an even playing field by requiring these measures industry-wide.

You can read a report on the Hong Kong workshop here.

 



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