Traceability with Cheryl Dahle
Cheryl Dahle is founder of the Future of Fish, an initiative to help the seafood industry respond creatively and responsibly to the threat of fish extinction. Dahle spent more than a decade writing about social entrepreneurship and business for publications including Fast Company, The New York Times and CIO. For her work with Future of Fish, USA Today named Dahle a national “Eco-Innovator” in 2013.
Douglas Gayeon: When people talk about sustainable seafood supply chains, they used terms like “dock-to-dish,” “boat-to-fork” and “trawl-to-table.” What term do you like to use?
Cheryl Dahle: We like the terms “legal,” “traceable” and “truthful” fish, meaning that it's not illegally fished, but was caught legally and whoever caught it had permission. It also means it was caught in a traceable way so you know how it was caught, what kind of gear was used, and that everything you've learned about the fish is truthful. You also have the story of a fisherman who caught it and the community where it came from—all the important attributes about that fish.
There are plenty of fish out there that are sustainable. There are fish docks that are not overfished and methods of getting fish out of the water that don't destroy the marine environment. If you can find a fish where all of these things are true, you know you're eating a sustainable fish.
Douglas Gayeon: Can you tell us what the term “traceability” means and how it applies to the seafood supply chain?
Cheryl Dahle: The word “traceability” has almost as many definitions as the word “sustainability.” We are trying to move a marketplace forward that has more truth telling, more veracity, a marketplace where information is attached to the fish and flows with it through the whole supply chain. What “traceability” looks like can vary depending upon the solutions and who is making up the definition. Ultimately, you're looking for catch data about a fish that is carried with it through the entire supply chain.