What is transparent seafood?
Around 90% of the world's fish stocks have been categorised as fully or over-exploited. Globally, as much as 50% of seafood sourced from the ocean is thrown away or lost in the process. As much as 20% of seafood consumed is mislabelled as the wrong species. Overfishing, Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, human rights abuses, and fraud continue to be reported from the global seafood industry. These all show the dire need for improvement in the fishing industry.
As the world transitions towards more sustainable seafood sourcing, it is important that policies and fishing laws are adhered to. Seafood supply chain transparency can help ensure that those policies and laws are followed through the use of traceability. Traceability is the ability to track a product through all stages of the supply chain, from production, processing and distribution. Key data is collected at each step in the supply chain and this data collected can be used to verify food safety, legality and sustainability of that seafood product. Seafood transparency is becomes a reality when the information collected, such as where and when the fish was caught, who caught the fish, and fishing method used, is fully accessible by retailers and consumers, such that they can independently make a fully informed choice about the seafood they are purchasing.
Full seafood supply chain traceability and transparency is a major step toward mitigating and eventually eliminating harmful fishing practices. Seafood’s long and complex journey from bait to plate makes it difficult for product information to be recorded accurately, consistently, and shared openly. Luckily there are tools and technology available that can make full traceability and transparency possible that WWF is rigorously pursuing, such as through blockchain technology and our partnership with BCG Digital Ventures to form the OpenSC platform.