Transparency in tuna value chains

Concerns about seafood sustainability, mislabelling, seafood fraud, slavery and Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing have led to increasing calls for disclosure of information about the identity and origin of seafood products. Traceability i.e. the ability to track products through all stages of production, processing and distribution, is seen as a solution to address the aforementioned concerns in seafood industry. As such, a wide range of traceability systems have emerged with different goals, users, approaches and technologies.  These systems are often implemented without much reflection on how traceability becomes embedded in practices of fishermen, middlemen, processors, buyers and retailers.

This research uses theories of social practices to understand how traceability interventions are influencing fishing, landing, processing, buying, branding and government decision-making practices. The empirical results will be used to reflect on how traceability interventions influence practices and what this means for pathways towards transparency, legality and sustainability.

This research focuses on Indonesian tuna fisheries and associated value chains that export to retailers in the United States and is part of the ‘Improving fisheries information and traceability for tuna’ (IFITT) project.