How tracking your fish to the fisherman can improve seafood sustainability

A group in Canada is offering a high-tech system that lets diners check the history of the fish back to the fisherman, helping to improve quality and sustainability of our fisheries.
Written by Boonsri Dickinson, Contributing Editor

Yesterday, I ate lunch at Ki Sushi, a new restaurant in San Francisco that prides itself on serving sustainable fish. I knew the California roll I ate was sustainable by Ki's standards, but through an online system called Thisfish, I could have traced my lunch all the way back to the fisherman who caught it and gotten details on when, where, and how the fish was caught.

The nonprofit group Ecotrust Canada created Thisfish in May 2010 to connect consumers to the source of their food. This, after a fisherman insisted the group help make fishermen with more responsible practices stand out, according to Singularity Hub. In theory, giving restaurants and consumers access to source information in real time will help them make more sustainable choices.

The Thisfish platform enables fishermen to tag their catch with a unique code. After the fish receive an identifying number, a fisherman uploads to Thisfish.info details about when, where and how the fish was caught. Delivery truck drivers even have an option to upload data about the fish while it's en route from sea to plate. By the time the fish makes it into a chef's hands, he can look up its history using the unique code. Or a diner like myself can can whip out a smartphone or tablet and look up details about what's being served.

Rob Clark, executive chef at C Restaurant in Vancouver, is a fan of seafood traceability:

The tracking system gives fishermen the chance to brand themselves, while giving consumers some peace of mind over the quality of their seafood. So far, 135,000 pieces of seafood have been tracked using the service.

There are apps that can help consumers make more sustainable choices. For instance, Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program rates seafood from Best Choice to Good Alternative to Avoid.

via New Tagging System Traces Your Seafood Back to The Fisherman [Singularity Hub]

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