Improved traceability in seafood supply chains is achievable by minimising vulnerable nodes in processing and distribution networks  

Charlotte R Hopkins*, Sarah Roberts, Alexander J Caveen, Chris Graham, Neil M. Burns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
87 Downloads (Pure)


Seafood is a globally traded commodity, often involving complex supply chains which have varying degrees of traceability. A robust traceability system for seafood supply chains enables the collection and communication of key information about catch and fisheries origins vital for assurance of the legality and sustainability of seafood products. End-to-end traceability is increasingly demanded by retailers, consumers, NGOs and regulatory bodies to ensure food safety, deter IUU fishing and verify sustainable and ethical credentials. Here, we map three UK seafood supply chains and evaluate traceability performance in: Dover sole landed in the south west of England, North-East Atlantic (NEA) mackerel landed at Peterhead, Scotland, and brown crab and European lobster, landed at Bridlington, England. Through a comparative analysis of traceability performance, this study suggests improvements to the technologies, processes, and systems for traceability in the seafood sector. The application of monitoring technologies and regulatory changes across the sector have increased traceability and potentially reduced instances of IUU fishing. While shorter supply chains are more likely to achieve end-to-end traceability, vulnerable nodes in processing and distribution networks may result in a loss of seafood traceability. While traceability systems may provide sustainability information on seafood, a high level of traceability performance does not necessarily equate to a sustainable source fishery. Encouragingly, while UK seafood supply chains are meeting minimum regulatory requirements for traceability, in the present study, many stakeholders have indicated ambitions towards traceability best practice in order to provide confidence and trust in the UK fishing industry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105910
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date3 Nov 2023
Publication statusPrint publication - Jan 2024


  • Fisheries
  • Seafood
  • Supply chain
  • Sustainability
  • Traceability


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