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It’s Time To Scale Up Traceability In The Tuna Industry

Increased traceability in the tuna industry has come to light as being vital in order to help identify supply chain, brand and reputational risks. A lack of this data provided to both retailers and consumers can create ill-advised sourcing decisions, which could have damaging affects to supermarket brands.

Experts believe that there is enormous opportunity to expand the traceability in the tuna industry. Since 2002, Norpac Fisheries Export, which deals with bigeye and yellowfin caught by long liners in the Pacific, has aided in this expansion. The company has developed and refined an electronic system to allow tracking of raw material and finished products, per each individual fish.  Each individually tagged tuna can be sourced from location of catch, all the way to the end user.

Global tuna marketing company, Pacifical, has also brought innovation towards increased traceability in the tuna purse seining industry. The company provides full online traceability for its tuna products for consumers.

With the use of a code on their tuna can, co-branded with Pacifical, consumers can trace details such as the name of the vessel and captain that caught the tuna in the EEZs of the PNA countries. With observers on board, whose fishing reports are verified with data from satellite monitoring systems, traceability of the time, date and location the tuna was caught, offloaded and produced is all accessible to both retailer and consumer. This provides a guarantee of sustainably caught tuna that is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

It is thought that increased use of this type of system could enhance the tuna industry by informing customers better about the sustainability and origin of their tuna, but could also be reducing waste, improving yield, developing management, controlling quantity and empowering employees. Current technology commonly used by fisheries is outdated and could benefit from this innovation.

But lethargy and disinterest in many fisheries sectors, along with a lack of knowledge of the opportunities available to enhance technologies in the industry, have created a barrier to the adoption of effective and modern traceability systems from vessel to end market.

Companies however are increasingly recognizing the business opportunity in improving traceability, a proper chain of custody and access to their supply chain in order to guarantee the sustainability and quality of their tuna. The ability to implement impactful and long-term change is available, and experts believe now is the time for it to be put fully into practice.