Last Updated on October 8, 2019
The seafood industry has—deserved or not—historically been known to have a bit of a fishy side.
The issues are so prevalent, that even the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has weighed in, publishing an extensive overview on “Food Fraud in the Fisheries Sector,” last year. Take, for instance, product weight, which, due to so many moving pieces in the supply chain, can sometimes be recorded inaccurately and even mislabeled before fish even hits the market.
Thankfully, a Boston-based company, Legit Fish, is trying to simplify this process by increasing transparency in the seafood industry. Founded by Michael Carroll, an experienced seafood industry professional, Legit Fish leverages technology to trace products from the boat to the dinner plate.
The idea for the company’s seafood traceability software spawned from observing the deficiencies in the current system while Mr. Carroll served as a consultant for supply chain compliance and certification systems. In that role, he relied heavily on government harvest data, which contains grounded information on where, when, and how much fish was caught.
After being approached by a retailer who wanted to trace their seafood back to a grounded record, the idea for Legit Fish was born. The Legit Fish process verifies that the seafood you get on your plate is truly that which is identified on the package. The company uses an array of technologies in partnership with the industry to capture the harvest data, which is also reported to the government. It then uses a proprietary verification process to ensure the harvest information that travels with the package is accurate.
With this new software, product weight is entered into a database as it lands at the dock and then transmitted to the government. Strict data rules built into the software in combination with the proprietary verification process verifies that the weights, dates, and species match the records that have been reported to the government. Having this process in place greatly minimizes the risk of tampered weights and mislabeled products.
Each package of Legit Fish-traced seafood provides the species, vessel names, fishing area, and landing port as was reported to the government on the dockside dealer records. This information can be found through a scannable QR code on the back of the packaging. This level of traceability is a first for the fishing sector and a much-needed improvement on product verification for the seafood industry as a whole.
Because much of the seafood industry still operates with paper records, this new software should help do away with old school reporting and simplify how data is reported and transmitted. Legit Fish’s technology system was intentionally built to be adaptable so that it can accommodate a wide variety of seafood products–hopefully expanding this level of traceability to other species.
ButcherBox is incredibly excited to be partnering with Legit Fish to bring our members the highest quality seafood products but also to help raise the bar for seafood industry traceability.
More than anything, being able to tell the origin story of the fish you will be eating tonight or serving to your family is the true magic of this truly innovative approach to seafood traceability.
Rachel Littauer is an Affiliate Marketing Manager at ButcherBox. She studied Journalism at Pepperdine University and has a passion for thoughtfully-sourced food.