Traceability is defined as ‘the ability to access any or all information relating to that which is under consideration, throughout its entire life cycle, by means of recorded identifications’. Traceability systems were first implemented in food production to ensure the food quality and safety of the product. In recent years, consumers’ interest in and awareness of product attributes, such as safety, sustainability and origin, has motivated improvements in food traceability and transparency. The nature of the supply chain is also of interest amongst consumers, i.e. does it come from a legal source?; has it come from a supply chain that maintains social accountability?; has the cold chain been maintained?; were slaves used in the sourcing of this fish? These days, traceability is often a component of eco-labeling schemes, such as the Marine Stewardship Council and Fair Trade, and is also used to combat Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing activities.
In terms of MDPI’s work, we have worked with other NGOs, scientist, government, technology provider, academia and private sectors to build a traceability scheme which fit to small scale fisheries. We are involved in piloting of technology-based traceability systems for small-scale fisheries, to obtain information that is often elusive in this sector given its widely dispersed and remote nature.