FAO, FishSource collaboration will create universal IDs for world's major fisheries

Published on
May 5, 2022
The FishSource interface on a laptop.

The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) announced a new collaboration with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona Spain, on 26 April, 2022.

The FAO is collaborating with SFP to adopt the standards used in FishSource to establish unique, standardized IDs for the world’s major fisheries. These universal IDs will streamline seafood supply chains, increase transparency, and improve government data collection, SFP said. The IDs will be available to the public, and will not change to standardize data collection. This will help ensure discussion about certain fisheries across the industry, governments, NGOs, and others is actually about the same fisheries and stocks.

“We need to know the source stock and fishery of a product to determine seafood sustainability. And for 15 years, SFP has been systematically doing this for the seafood industry with our tools and services,” SFP Global Policy Director Braddock Spear said. “With the FAO’s collaboration with FishSource, soon the entire supply chain can use the same IDs and codes and know we are talking about the same stocks and fisheries.”

The IDs will also be available for use across organizations to inform reporting and recommendations for achieving global targets, such as the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and SFP’s Target 75, the group said.

“The FAO’s new IDs will fundamentally transform the entire seafood supply chain and change the seafood industry forever,” Spear said. “Information will flow more freely across the industry, transparency of sourcing will be strengthened, government data collection systems will be improved, and small-scale fisheries will get an identity on equal footing to large industrial fisheries.”

FishSource is a platform operated by SFP that identifies fish stocks and fisheries, provides information on the management status of the world's fisheries, including supply risks involving environment and labor issues.

SFP is a marine conservation organization that leverages the power of seafood buyers and retailers in the seafood supply chain to rebuild depleted fish stocks, reduce environmental impacts of the industry, address social issues in fishing, and advance economic opportunities for fishers and their communities.

SFP created and launched FishSource at Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, Belgium, in 2007 in response to demand from major seafood buyers for up-to-date information on the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture regions. Since its launch, hundreds of retailers, foodservice providers, brands, and seafood companies across the globe have been able to identify sources and risks of their seafood through FishSource, SFP said.

In addition to its role as a database, FishSource drives SFP’s Seafood Metrics system and its Ocean Disclosure Project. When combined with SFP’s tools and technologies, it provides solutions for seafood buyers and companies to help them learn more about the world's fisheries and identify improvements needed in fisheries and farming regions. FishSource helps monitor progress towards environmental and social commitments, reports sourcing and progress, and communicates environmental impacts to consumers, SFP said.

Photo courtesy of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership

Contributing editor reporting from Hawaii, U.S.A.

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