How can technology contribute to fishing sustainability and the well-being of fishers?

Posted on 29 August 2022
  • WWF and Future of Fish have launched a global review on the governance of electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) systems in the fisheries sector.
  • The report highlights that ensuring a sustainable and responsible future for seafood depends on combining data-rich fisheries management with transparent and traceable supply chains.
On August 23, WWF and Future of Fish officially launched the global report on “The application and evolution of eCDT systems in seafood supply chains addressing the issue of governance”. This report shows that one of the greatest challenges for the adoption of electronic traceability systems in the fishing sector is their governance; for example how they are managed, organized and interconnected. This research offers not only a theoretical basis on the subject, but also recommendations and reflections drawn from case studies from various countries. For the preparation of this report, 22 international specialists in eCDT systems from the fishing sector were interviewed and consulted, through which it was possible to identify the best practices and international standards that are being applied in the traceability of marine products worldwide.

Fiona Lugo-Mulligan, one of the authors of the report and former Director of the Traceability and Data Modernization Program at Future of Fish, pointed out that “these systems are currently revolutionizing the fishing sector and are a great opportunity to improve fisheries, since they by collecting data it is possible to guarantee that the resources are captured in a legal manner”. She also added: "These efforts support fisheries management, control and surveillance, which in turn allows us to meet the demands of international markets that require that the fishery products imported from Peru and other countries have a demonstrable legal origin.".

During the presentation of the study, which took place in a face-to-face event and was attended by representatives of the government, private sector, fishermen and NGOs, the difficulties currently facing artisanal fishing in Peru for the effective adoption of these technologies were made known.  The lack of interoperable systems, isolated data collection and lack of clarity of roles and responsibilities in data management were some of the main problems. Along these lines, Aimée Leslie, Conservation Director of WWF Peru and main author of the report stated that “it is key to have adequate governance to ensure that systems are organized, financed, managed and interconnected. Only in this way will we be able to make management decisions, establish responsibilities and carry out adequate monitoring to ensure the social, environmental and economic sustainability of fishing. Achieving sustainable supply chains depends as much on data-rich fisheries management as on transparent and traceable supply chains.”
About eCDT systems
They are a set of linked systems, made up of technologies that allow the collection and analysis of data related to fishery products. Some examples are: electronic logbooks, on-board cameras, scales connected to the Internet, QR codes, blockchains, digital inventory control and much more.

Download the report here “The application and evolution of eCDT systems in seafood supply chains addressing the issue of governance”

Download the report here

© Wendy La Torre / WWF-Perú