Fish Tracking From Sea to Plate

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Fish marketnEcotrust Canada’s ThisFish lets you track the course of the fish you eat from catch to your plate. How does it work? Participating fishermen in Canada tag their catch with a unique code, that can be used by consumers on the ThisFish website to find out details on the catch, including who caught their fish, and how and when it was caught.

FIsh Tracking Adds Value Along the Food Chain

In addition to fishermen being able to tag the fish, anyone involved in the fish transit process can add their own tagging details. Seafood processors and restaurants, for example, can specify how the fish was processed and prepared. As of the date of this writing, over 90,000 fish had been tracked.

Feedback From Around the World

So far, consumers from the U.S., and as far away as China, Japan, Korea and even Belgium have used the unique fish tracking code to find out where their fish came from and how it was treated.

In an interesting way, ThisFish brings the local fishing experience back to the table (even if the fish is far from local). Just like the small coastal fishing town where the fishermen would sit down with their friends and enjoy the day’s catch, consumers can now learn and chat about the fishermen (calling them by name), when they learn about and explore their fish tales.

About The Author:

Alex loves nature and does his best to take care of the planet. He doesn't take for granted the serenity that can be found in the stillness of an ancient forest, or the majestic power of the ocean's large waves as they crash on an isolated island shoreline. He wants to raise awareness for how simple it can be to make a couple changes in your everyday life that can make a huge difference for the environment in the long term.

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April 29, 2012 10:11 pm

This is precisely the reason I will not eat expensive oceanic seafood in the Midwest. A walleye or a northern pike is much more likely to have come from a local body of water and therefore likely was never frozen, which essentially kills the texture and flavor of a good piece of fish.

Conversely, I would never order crab legs or lobster in a place like Hawaii. Crustaceans such as that, the ones that taste the best anyway, come from the frigid waters off the coast of Alaska or the Eastern seaboard. Being able to see where an expensive cut of seafood, no matter what kind it was, would be valuable to me if I wanted to be sure I was getting the best experience possible.

Yet I still question just how much a system like this would be utilized without any other incentive than what I have just listed. I think in order for it to gain worldwide acceptance with the fishing industry and with large scale seafood buyers, one government or another is going to have to mandate it in some way shape or form in order to get everyone on board. Actually, this seems like a plausible idea. I can see how consumers with the backing of a regulatory body would come to expect this kind of technology to ensure that their investment was being protected.

I suppose in conclusion, I have to admit that the idea of such a tracking program seems like a novel and interesting idea, but I have never heard of anyone doing such a thing with really any major livestock product. I consider myself a legitimate connoisseur of both the internet and fine seafood, and if this was really something that was going to catch on for the long-term, it would have developed to that point already. Perhaps I am wrong about the prospects for “This Fish”, but I highly doubt it. I think though that with some innovations and changes to the program that it could evolve into something awesome. If fishers aimed to be part of the listings, then the listings could point you toward the best products because the fishers would have to meet certain basic standards to be listed. Right now, the way things are set up, the information that you would get is not likely to be that accurate and therefore unhelpful for you if you use the service, so that is the only issue that I see.

April 29, 2012 12:06 am

I mean, will it really work well to provide you with accurate information about the origin of your fish? Realistically?

For many people the idea of this service is a little far fetched, I would think, simply because it is not believable that a fisherman would admit to fishing in polluted water, and that true fish lovers know to buy local to get the freshest food.

Even after having the internet in my life for the better part of twenty years, I am always amazed at how many different ways there are to use it. The “ThisFish” website is a perfect example of that. Who would think to create a tracking system for fish around the world where people can go and find the name of the guy who caught it for them? Why would they think to do that? Who would actually take the time to put it to use?

Well, obviously people are using the service and, to a degree, I can see why someone would want to know where there food is coming from. If the fish was caught in the bottom of a slimy, polluted river that harbors disease and so forth, I would like to know about that before I fry it up and eat it on down. Still, also do not think that any commercial fisherman would be all that willing to tell someone if the fish he was catching were from tainted waters. That just does not make any sense.

The only other situation in which I can envision someone using the service is in the event a very large or expensive cut of seafood was being sold, bought, and enjoyed. I like seafood a great deal and I have had the good fortune to eat some of the freshest fish caught around the world. If there is one thing I know about seafood, there is no substitute for freshness. The very second that fish is caught is the best it is going to taste no matter what kind of fish it is or where it was caught.

October 18, 2011 1:09 pm

I certainly like the idea of knowing that I’m eating fish that are not farm reared.