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New Future of Fish Report Provides Traceability Technology Guidance for Seafood Companies

Created on Wednesday, 03 September 2014

A valuable new report released by the nonprofit Future of Fish last month highlights the business case for improved seafood supply-chain traceability and describes important technology considerations and third-party options available to the seafood industry.  The report, entitled Getting There from Here: A Guide for Companies Implementing Seafood Supply-Chain Traceability Technology, was developed with input from technology vendors, NGOs, trade groups, and members of government agencies working on the issues of seafood traceability, mislabeling, and fisheries management.

This report makes three important contributions:

Firstly, it enumerates many reasons traceability technology systems can be very good investments for seafood companies — from their ability to create inventory management system and operational efficiencies, to their marketing, CSR, and brand loyalty benefits. Furthermore, the “Traceability Vendor Benefits Grid” (found in the appendix) critiques many existing traceability solutions, allowing business to assess which product might best fit their organization, existing challenges, and technologies.

Secondly, the report also includes a frank and informative discussion of the barriers faced by companies assessing technological tools to achieve interoperable whole-chain traceability. Many common concerns relating to new technology adoption (e.g. data security concerns and outdated data collection methods) and whole-chain traceability (e.g. lack of interoperability and uniform standards) are discussed alongside useful summaries of existing policy and certification standards.

Finally, the report describes key principles for the successful adoption and implementation of traceability improvements. Guidance on which traceability technology features might be considered essential versus “nice to have”, the benefits of building traceability into business plans and operational protocols, and the importance of trust building and data sharing among firms in the supply chain.

Given the growing pressure industry faces from government, consumer advocacy groups, and competitors to fight mislabeling and improve traceability, this new report is a valuable resource for seafood companies. The report also helps companies implement traceability improvements that not only reduce risk, but can enhance brand reputation and improve supply chain management.

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