The future of seafood

trawler heading out
© Jurgen Freund/ WWF
Advocacy Update

 Your phone gives you a heads-up display of where in the store to find it. And the story of that fish - where, when, and how it was caught and shipped, allowing you to make a fully informed purchase.  

You bring the fish home, and your smart refrigerator knows when you placed it inside, as well as keeping track of how long it has been there, suggesting recipes, and even reminding you when it needs to be used. It detects when you use the fish and can automatically reorder a replacement. That will be delivered directly to your home by a delivery drone or a driverless vehicle.

This is the vision for the future of New Zealand seafood WWF’s Western and Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager, Bubba Cook recently presented to the group developing the Fisheries Industry Transformation Plan (ITP).

The ITP will set a 10-year vision for the future of the fishing sector. Improving the environmental performance of commercial fisheries, and increasing the value created from fishing.

Bubba, representing WWF-New Zealand, was asked to join Group in December 2022. The ITP is one a number of specific industry plans that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) are developing in partnerships between business, workers, Māori, and Government aimed at securing long-term industry transformation. With the Fisheries ITP, it is good to have the environmental NGO perspective being included.

Bubba told the group that WWF believes that novel applications of technology for supply chain traceability and transparency will transform the global seafood industry. By reducing or eliminating issues of overfishing, illegal and unreported fishing, wastage and mislabeling which are all contributing to unsustainable fisheries.

He says there are presently multiple technologies available to better secure transparency and traceability and accountability.  Every one of the technologies ‘imagined’ above already exists, the only thing missing is the technology and motivation to stitch them all together. 

Bubba believes that with our history of technological innovation and No.8 Wire mentality, New Zealand is well positioned to be the incubator and crucible for this transformation. Securing the environmental sustainability of its fisheries through a combination of state-of-the-art technology to achieve full, transparent traceability of seafood from boat to throat.