Global Food Traceability Center Submits Comments on the Presidential Task Force Recommendations for Combatting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud

January 27, 2015

Global Food Traceability Center Submits Comments on the Presidential Task Force Recommendations for Combatting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud

WASHINGTON D.C. --- As part of its ongoing commitment to offering solutions for pressing food fraud issues, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) submitted written comments on how to most effectively implement the recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on Combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud.

While traceability is clearly identified as one of the four central themes of the Task Force recommendations, the GFTC asserts that 11 out of the 15 recommendations involve the need for traceability from catch to point of sale to the consumer. This perspective is summarized in the table below.

Task Force Recommendation

Traceability Implications

1

Pass implementing legislation for Port State Measures Agreement.

N/A

2

Develop, within 1 year, best practices for catch documentation & data tracking, and other measures including vessel tracking systems.

Part of designing a seafood traceability system

3

Include IUU fishing threat analysis/monitoring in efforts to increase maritime domain awareness.

N/A

4

Use trade agreements to combat IUU fishing and fraud.

Requires agreement on global traceability requirements

5

Pursue international commitments to eliminate fishery subsidies that contribute to overfishing.

Requires sustainability metrics as part of a traceability system

6

Coordinate with multi-lateral stakeholders to prioritize building sustainable fisheries.

Requires sustainability metrics (standards) for traceability system

7

Combat IUU fishing and fraud as a diplomatic priority.

Requires agreement on global traceability requirements

8

Develop, within 180 days, an implementation strategy (with deadlines) to optimize collection, sharing, and analysis of information/resources.

Part of developing a seafood traceability system

9

Leverage existing and future CMAA’s to exchange relevant information and encourage foreign cooperation to combat IUU fishing and fraud.

Requires alignment of global traceability requirements

10

Standardize rules on identifying species, common name, and origin of seafood.

Part of a seafood traceability infrastructure

11

Work with state and local authorities to expand information sharing and develop tools to address IUU fishing and fraud.

Relies on seafood traceability system

12

Broaden agency enforcement authorities (search, inspect, seize) and pursue range of other enforcement options.

N/A

13

Establish a regular forum with industry stakeholders and NGOs to enhance collaboration and improve understanding of IUU fishing.

N/A

14

Identify and develop, within 6 months, a list of types of data and standards needed for effective traceability program.

Part of a seafood traceability infrastructure

15

Within 18 months, implement the first phase of traceability program.

Pilot project for a seafood traceability system

“Most of the resources, tools, and technology required for implementation of seafood traceability exist,” said William Fisher, IFT Vice President of Science & Policy Initiatives and head of the GFTC. “It is clear that there are compelling reasons for industry and governments to work together to respond to mounting pressures to implement or improve traceability in the seafood industry. The GFTC welcomes the opportunity to serve and assist the seafood industry and governments in moving seafood traceability forward.”

Read the GFTC’s full comments on the Task Force recommendations. In addition, the GFTC will be publishing a report on seafood traceability within the next month.

In September 2013, IFT launched the GFTC, a science-based, not-for-profit public-private partnership. It brings together key stakeholders in the food system to collaborate on traceability solutions and serves as an authoritative source about food traceability. It assists companies and government agencies to better understand the nature of food traceability requirements, to improve responsiveness and reliability in the event of food-related emergencies, and to increase the value and commercial benefits of food traceability.

For more information on the Global Food Traceability Center, please visit http://www.ift.org/gftc.aspx

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About IFT
Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is committed to advancing the science of food. Our non-profit scientific society—more than 17,000 members from more than 95 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government, and industry. For more information, please visit ift.org.

About the Global Food Traceability Center
The GFTC is a public-private partnership program within IFT that was created for the express purpose of being the global resource and authoritative voice on food traceability.  Its mission is to serve all parts of the food system (from farm to fork) by providing applied research, objective advice, and practical expertise about data collaboration and food product traceability for the purposes of business benefit and public good. For more information, please visit globalfoodtraceability.org

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