Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 6-1-2012

Abstract

The global seafood industry currently lacks a standardized, widespread method to easily trace the chain of custody of products that they purchase. With global overfishing leading to declining fish stocks around the world, it is vital for seafood providers to have the ability to identify and buy products from sustainable fisheries that are well managed, target abundant species, and fish in environmentally responsible ways. This paper analyzes public and private initiatives that seek to provide product traceability. In summarizing the current status of seafood traceability, stakeholders agree that are a number of challenges with trying to piece together so many records from so many different supply chain members between international trade partners and the United States. Currently, investigators can follow the paths of seafood products until they (hopefully) find the point where these paths cross. While the process might seem straightforward, it is not. Regarding traceability implementation, there is also great concern in the market about a "level playing field"- why should one supplier make an investment for the sake of traceability or sustainability when it means that a competitor can sell the same product at a lower price?