Planet Tracker: Traceability could increase seafood industry profits by 60 percent

A fleet of fishing boats sitting idle in Vietnam.

A small investment in seafood traceability could boost the industry’s profitability by 60 percent, according to a new report by financial think tank Planet Tracker.  

The new report, “How to Trace $600 Billion,” found that improved traceability would help cut spending on food recalls, food waste, and staff. The report’s findings suggest that an investment of just one percent of the industry’s sales in traceability could “unlock a USD 600 billion boost in global seafood enterprise valuations” in the industry, which the repot values at USD 1.8 trillion (EUR 1.83 trillion).

Only 29 percent of global seafood production is currently “traceability-ready,” according to Planet Tracker, which explores in the report whether “100 percent sea-to-plate traceable seafood” is a viable reality.

“Across the seafood supply chain, there’s a low average profit-margin, meaning the total cost of production is really the main driver of end-prices. Cutting down on even a few areas of unnecessary expenditure, which can be identified through improved traceability, can thus result in significant profit boosts,” Planet Tracker Head of Oceans Program François Mosnier said. “What’s more, our methodology for calculating potential savings was incredibly conservative – the true potential boost to global profits could in reality be much bigger. So, it’s not just the companies, but the financial institutions backing them who should be demanding change.”

Planet Tracker said also said seafood industry investors should ask what it would take the companies they're invested in to become traceable, and how investors can help with that process.

The report also calls for action from governments to increase traceability, including “relocating harmful subsidies towards traceability investments” and “introducing comprehensive traceability-related regulation.”

Currently, Thai Union tops a ranking – by Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST) criteria – of traceability for 30 seafood companies by the World Benchmarking Alliance’s Seafood Stewardship Index, cited in the Planet Tracker report. Those towards the bottom of the index include Japanese corporations Marubeni and Mitsubishi, as well as Norway-based Salmar and U.S.A.-headquartered Trident Seafoods.

Photo courtesy of Zac Crush/Shutterstock


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