Did you know nearly one third of all the seafood we purchase from the grocery store or order at a restaurant is not what we think it is? One solution for this seafood fraud is traceability, which tracks fish from the moment it leaves the water until it ends up on your plate, providing consumers and chefs with valuable information about the fish they buy. — Douglas Gayeton

How can we find greater transparency in our seafood markets? In this edition of Food List, we dive into the depths of our seafood industry and explore the many channels to finding sustainable and authentic seafood.

Theoretically, it should be quite easy to document where our fish come from. One seafood traceability specialist finds a solution in chain of custody documentation. This allows the fish to be traced back to its very location before it was caught. This is essential, as traceability allows for greater confidence in consumers, as well as fisheries.

While there are distinct fish species that dominate our seafood market, there are many sustainable options to help alleviate the stresses on the industry. In an effort to empower consumers to act as stewards of the ocean, information about smart seafood choices are being made widely available. In an effort to empower fishermen to act as stewards of the ocean, markets are influencing positive changes up and down the supply chain. In doing so, seafood fraud and unnecessary bycatch can be avoided.

Every fish as a tale. Explore ways you can support and empower a transparent seafood market.

This week's terms

Seafood Fraud

Seafood fraud happens any time a customer thinks he or she is getting one thing and they’re getting another. It can be mislabeling, a weight lower than what’s advertised, or a fish the customer thinks is caught using one particular method when it’s really caught using another.


Traceability provides consumers with valuable and verifiable information about the food they buy. It helps explain the integrity of the product, its origins, species, and its legal production under a competent management regime.


Transparency is a growing demand from consumers who want to know where their food comes from in our current, highly advanced food system. This includes the origin the origin of the product, the farming practices, the working conditions of the food chain workers, all the way to the packaging. Transparency verification is provided by independent, third parties, who offer the ability to easily, economically and readily view the entire logistics chain. 

Chain of Custody

Usually relating to seafood, chain of custody is documentation that tells what a fish has been eating or how long it's been out of the water. One can transfer this notion to any mode of production, food or otherwise. Tracing an item's creation back to its root reveals everything about the individuals and materials that produced it.

Exclusive Economic Zone

Attempts to establish policies and market restrictions that protect individual fish species are complicated by a single fact: fish respect no borders. Exclusive economic zones (EEZ) are sovereign territorial limits that extend two hundred miles beyond a country's coastline.

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