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Tracing a Path to Sustainable Fisheries

Fishing is an ancient pursuit, steeped in legend and lore the world over. Yet nowadays many of us are disconnected from our seafood – who catches the fish we eat? Where does it come from? And how does it find its way to us?

To answer these questions, Ecotrust Canada launched ThisFish, a global seafood traceability system that lets consumers connect to their fish harvesters. Using ThisFish on a smartphone or computer, you can trace your dinner’s journey back to its origins, helping you make more informed choices about the authenticity, quality, and sustainability of the seafood you eat, while promoting the folks who proudly stand behind their catch.

In Indonesia, we’ve embarked on a bold project to introduce ThisFish’s traceability system in the artisanal handline tuna fishery. We’ve built partnerships with a local Indonesian nonprofit and Wageningen University in the Netherlands to map the global supply chain of yellowfin tuna from remote rural fishing villages in Indonesia to supermarkets in California.

We’re hoping an “information-rich” and engaging consumer traceability system like ThisFish can improve the management of “information-poor” fisheries in the developing world through market incentives.


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Eric Enno Tamm has been with Ecotrust Canada since 2003. He grew up in the commercial fishing industry on Vancouver Island, working in the harvesting and processing sectors. Today, he connects those industries to seafood consumers. "The most dangerous job in the world shouldn't be the (most) thankless too."

"Traceability shines a light on opaque global supply chains, helping to prevent illegal fishing, seafood fraud and slavery at sea. We want to humanize our food system by connecting the people who are producing our seafood with those who are eating it."


Oleg Matveje is a Computer Science major at Simon Fraser University, joining our ThisFish team this summer as part of SFU’s co-op program. This program is designed to help students explore their career options and receive hands-on experience in their industry, linking students to local organizations for practical work experience – and mutual learning. "SFU's co-op program has been a valuable experience that has exposed me to new technologies and software development practices."

"ThisFish’s goal of providing the next generation of traceability, co-operation, and openness in the fishing industry will benefit both the consumers and the industry itself."


There was a time when people knew exactly who farmed or fished their food. With sprawling global markets, however, that personal connection has largely been lost.

When we started ThisFish in 2010, we wanted to use technology to re-illuminate the supply chain. Folks thought we were a little crazy. Individually tagging fish? And then tracking them from port to plate? The challenges seemed insurmountable and the benefits unclear.

Yet here we are, five years later. Seafood traceability is gaining momentum and ThisFish is at the front edge of the wave. From better-informed consumers to better-managed fisheries, we’re determined to bring positive change to the global seafood industry – one tag at a time.


With thanks,