Seafood traceability is possible thanks to a high-tech web system. (Photo: Thisfish)
Diners can now track their meals back to fishers
Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 02:40 (GMT + 9)
Non-profit group Ecotrust Canada has developed a high-tech web system that lets seafood diners anywhere in the world track their meals back to the fisher who caught it. Participating fishers tag their catch and the data then go into Thisfish.info.
Diners can enter the code given to them at restaurants into Thisfish by logging on with an iPad, Blackberry or similar device.
With this seafood traceability initiative, Ecotrust Canada hopes to educate consumers about where seafood comes from and encourage them to make more sustainable choices, reports CBC News.
Thisfish was developed in 2008 in reponse to requests from commercial fishers on Vancouver Island. The pilot began with lingcod and hook‐and‐line‐caught salmon and then moved to include sablefish and halibut in British Columbia (BC), The Sou'Wester reports.
In May 2010, Ecotrust Canada launched the website that allows fishers to upload their catch data and lets consumers trace their catch.
Last September, the non-profit joined the Canadian Council for Professional Fish Harvesters on an Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency- (ACOA) funded pilot scheme to expand Thisfish to the Atlantic lobster fishery.
Thisfish works by giving each fisher assigned a unique code imprinted on a tag or label to his or her catch. The fisher then uploads the code to the website and describes when, where and how the fish was caught.
Throughout the supply chain, other people can upload additional info about how the fish was processed and handled.
The cycle ends when the restaurateur or retailer acquires the fish and traces its origins, ensuring accurate information about its authenticity, quality and sustainability. The consumer can also plug in the code number to obtain information and even email the fisher who caught the product.
A fisherman participating in the programme says being able to trace the route a lobster takes throughout the supply chain up to the final consumer is a source of interest and pride for him. With the help of one of the programme developers, he traced some of his lobsters to Barcelona, Spain.
By fall 2011, all fishers enrolled in Thisfish may be able to track their catches similarly.
Marketing and communications officer Eric Enno Tamm said the programme aims to make the seafood sector more transparent and reward those who responsibly harvest and handle the product.
“We believe there shouldn’t be anything fishy about eating seafood,” he said.
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By Natalia Real