• Bringing Transparency and Traceability to the Seafood Industry

    See Change Magazine
    • Monica Jain
    • June 28, 2017

    When you browse the fish counter or order off a seafood menu, can you be sure the species label is accurate and the fish was caught or farmed ethically? In many cases, the answer is no. A 2014 report in Marine Policy estimates that over 20 percent of wild-captured seafood imported into the U.S. comes from illegal fisheries, and a 2016 report from Oceana estimates that, on average, 20 percent of seafood worldwide is mislabeled. The opaque supply chain of many seafood products can hide a host of problems, including human rights abuses in the labor force, fishing in protected areas or of protected species and environmental degradation.

  • Entrepreneurs Shine a Light on Seafood Origins

    National Geographic
    • National Geographic
    • Monica Jain, April 13, 2017

    Consumers who would never buy something generically labeled meat or cheese are often stuck at almost that level of information when it comes to seafood. The opaque origins and processing of many seafood products can hide a host of problems, including species fraud, illegal fishing, human rights abuses in the labor force, and pollution—as well as the resource depletion that accompanies these issues. A 2014 report in Marine Policy estimates that over 20 percent of wild-captured seafood imported into the U.S. comes from illegal fisheries.

    But this is quickly changing, as an increasing number of innovators in the seafood industry create new ways of making the system more transparent and seafood products and processes more traceable.

  • A Guide to Seafood & Aquaculture Technology: Startups Raise $193m in 2016 but More Innovation Needed

    • Louisa Burwood-Taylor
    • February 16, 2017

    Startups in seafood and aquaculture technology raised $193 million in 2016, a 271% increase on the $52 million raised across both 2014 and 2015, according to AgFunder research.

    Investment in seafood-related startups grew in 2016 as investors and entrepreneurs are starting to slowly wake up to the huge opportunity the market presents.

  • The Small but Growing Seafood Traceability Startup Scene

    • Louisa Burwood-Taylor
    • March 30, 2016

    Until about five years ago, traceability in the seafood industry was virtually non-existent.

    There were only two scenarios when traceability was demanded, says Dick Jones, executive director of Ocean Outcomes, a non-profit working to improve the sustainability of fisheries globally: if a retailer requested a recall of a certain product, or if they rejected a product.

  • Tech and Business Innovation are Clearing Up Seafood's Foggy Supply Chain

    Huffington Post
    • Monica Jain
    • January 19, 2016

    The seafood industry's supply chain is notably opaque, complex and, in some areas, technologically deprived, experts say. But that doesn't mean it's stuck in the past. Dedicated efforts over the past two decades have improved the seafood supply chain's sustainability -- and we have an opportunity to do much more over the next several years.

    Businesses, NGOs and governments have been collaborating to improve seafood supply chain transparency and sustainability since the 1990s, as Meredith Lopuch of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation noted during a panel discussion at the Fish 2.0 Competition Finals & Seafood Innovation Forum in November.

  • Stirrings of a new seafood supply chain revolution

    • Monica Jain
    • December 16, 2016

    The seafood industry’s supply chain is notably opaque, complex and, in some areas, technologically deprived, experts say. But that doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the past. Dedicated efforts over the past two decades have improved the seafood supply chain’s sustainability — and we have an opportunity to do much more over the next several years.

  • Traceability, co-operation seen as keys to improving seafood’s sustainability challenges

    Undercurrent News
    • Jason Smith
    • November 25, 2015

    PALO ALTO, California -- Solving the myriad social issues like forced labor and environmental challenges like illegal fishing that the seafood industry faces has to involve traceability and co-operation, observers said.

    A panel of representatives from non-governmental organizations as well as the private sector speaking at the Fish 2.0 business competition held earlier this month, said that there is significant commonality among the goals of the many groups and private sector leaders working on seafood sustainability issues.

    For full article click here 

  • Progetti significativi a tutela della tracciabilità. Fish 2.0, a giorni l’evento finale

    • November 3, 2015

    L' industria ittica ha una delle più complesse catene di fornitura, spesso coinvolge dalle cinque alle sette aziende dalla cattura al piatto, ciascuna tenuta a produrre una documentazione dettagliata. Una nuova ondata di imprenditori lascia intravedere una opportunità per rendere l'industria ittica più trasparente per consumatori, aziende e governi che lottano per la sostenibilità.

    Il mercato del gambero racchiude molti di questi problemi. Il gambero è una delle specie maggiormente consumata, rappresentando un mercato di 5 miliardi di $ negli Stati Uniti e 2 miliardi di euro nell'Unione Europea. Più della metà della produzione mondiale proviene dall'acquacoltura, settore che è cresciuto rapidamente negli ultimi anni, soprattutto in Asia. Questa crescita rapida e la mancanza di controlli ha portato la distruzione degli habitat, epidemie, e nel caso dei produttori tailandesi di mangimi, le violazioni dei diritti dei lavoratori.

    [Click here for the full article]

  • Entrepreneurs Seize Opportunity in Seafood Traceability

    Triple Pundit
    • Monica Jain
    • November 2, 2015

    The seafood industry has one of the most complicated supply chains in the world [Tweet This] , often with five to seven companies involved from catch to plate, each keeping records on paper in far-flung locations. In these murky waters a new wave of entrepreneurs sees opportunities to make the seafood industry more transparent to consumers, businesses and governments striving for sustainability.

    The seafood industry defines traceability as the ability to track the source of seafood, the conditions under which it is farmed or caught, and the intermediaries it passes through. Improving traceability is critical to promoting sustainability in both aquaculture and wild-caught fish: The current, largely opaque supply chain hides numerous negative impacts, including overfishing, fraud, human rights abuses in the labor force, pollution and resource depletion. (See TriplePundit’s recent Q&A on seafood traceability for details on systemic issues.)

    [Click here for the full article]

  • Casting a Tight Net

    Stanford Social Innovation Review
    • Sarah Murray
    • Fall 2015

    The exploitation of workers in the Thai seafood industry is one of the worst examples of human rights abuse in the world today. Humanity United is pursuing a strategy that combines carrots and sticks—collaboration and activism—to confront that problem.

    In June 2014, The Guardian newspaper published a series of reports1 that detailed the practice of human trafficking in the Thai fishing industry. Migrant workers had paid brokers to help them find work in Thai factories or on Thai construction sites. Instead, the brokers or their associates had sold the workers to fishing boat captains—at a price of less than $400, in some cases. One trafficking victim said that he had witnessed the killing of roughly 20 of his fellow workers. He had even seen members of a fishing boat crew tie one worker by his limbs to the bows of four vessels, so that the ocean waves would tear the worker’s body apart. Such abuses, according to the Guardian investigation, lay at the heart of the industry that puts shrimp on the tables of consumers all around the world. Much of the global seafood industry, in short, is built on a modern form of human slavery.

    [Click here for the full article]

  • Fish Tracking App Connects Consumers To Their Catch

    • Molly Solomon

    (Molly Solomon of HPR Hawaii interviewed Monica Jain and Local l'a in Hawaii about seafood traceability. Local l'a was a Fish 2.0 semi-finalist in the 2013 competition)

    If you’ve ever been curious about where and how the fish on your dinner plate was caught, now there’s an app for that. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports on new technology that’s tracing the fish on your plate back to the sea.

    After eyeing the akule appetizer at a Kaimukī restaurant, Jason Chow whips out his smartphone and scans a code on the menu to find out more about the reef fish. “You just scan this QR code,” said Chow. “And you discover who caught it, when it was caught, where it was caught and how.”

    Click here to listen: 

  • Tracing the Fish on Your Plate Back to the Sea

    • Catherine Elton
    • May 21, 2015

    A San Francisco startup’s tracking system for seafood is helping Chilean fishermen earn more

    For decades, José Barrios has made a living pulling flounder and abalone out of the frigid waters off Chile’s central coast using nothing more than nets, an iron hook, and his strong back. Today, the 56-year-old fisherman also taps into satellite networks and the cloud to earn the best possible price for his catch.

    Barrios is one of about 250 Chilean fishermen who have signed on with Shellcatch, a San Francisco startup seeking to profit from the growing demand for sustainable seafood. The company hopes its technology will combat the overfishing and fraud that threaten the international seafood trade. The Pew Charitable Trusts estimates that one out of five fish taken from the ocean is caught illegally, depleting stocks of certain species to levels that imperil their survival. Whether it’s to avoid fines for fishing without permits or going over their quota or simply to boost profits, fishermen often try to pass off one type of fish as another. Oceana, a U.S. nonprofit, ran DNA tests on 1,200 fish samples and found that one-third had been mislabeled, according to a 2013 report. “We think technology in the seafood space can disrupt the way business is being done, which currently involves large amounts of species fraud and illegality,” says Shellcatch founder Alfredo Sfeir. “Technology allows you to know the people behind your fish. That’s how it used to be.”

    [Click here for the full article]

  • Ending Seafood Slavery: How Tracing Seafood Can Protect Humans, Too

    • David Bank and Maura Dilley
    • March 20, 2015

    To blood diamonds, sweatshop apparel and other products to avoid, now add slave shrimp.

    The global fishing industry, and the Thai fishing fleet in particular, is increasingly being called to account for abuses that represent not just virtual slavery, but the real thing.

    The new attention to human rights is expanding the definition of "sustainable seafood" to include not only fish and the oceans they swim in, but the working conditions of the people who catch them. Indeed, exploitation of people is almost always accompanied by exploitation of nature.

    Now, the same tools that help buyers choose fillets from environment-friendly sources are starting to be used to trace seafood to socially responsible suppliers as well. At the big Boston Seafood Expo this week, the Obama administration announced a traceability program to track seafood from its harvest through its import into the U.S., part of a broader plan to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. California's Transparency in Supply Chains Act requires businesses to disclose their efforts, if any, to eradicate human trafficking and slavery from their supply chains.

    [Click here for the full article]