Global Discussion on Seafood Traceability

Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability

Since 2017, IFT’s GFTC has been working with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature to advance a unified framework by convening seafood companies and other relevant stakeholders


  • The GDST outputs include interoperable standards and implementation guidance for seafood traceability with specific applicability to sustainability and mitigating illegal fishing
  • The GFTC used a multidisciplinary methodology to evaluate supply chains
  • Standards are informed by pilot results and extending existing global standards to supply chain contingencies and business needs of seafood companies
  • Hackathons and other convening workshopped technical challenges 
  • Acronyms
    GDST: Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability
    GFTC: Global Food Traceability Center
    IFT: Institute of Food Technologists


From August 2018 until March 2020, the GFTC produced several outputs to advance seafood traceability in addition to the standards and supporting documents themselves. 

VIDEO: Case Study, Thai Union

This video illustrates the pilot process and how the GDST standards may be used to achieve interoperable end-to-end traceability.

VIDEO: Case Study, Thai Union

This video illustrates the pilot process and how the GDST standards may be used to achieve interoperable end-to-end traceability.

GDST Digital Resource Samples

Standards, Implementation Guidance & GitHub

The GFTC has taken an innovative approach towards documentation of the normative standards and developer support. Understanding that to achieve end-to-end traceability requires digital nativity, GFTC has developed both normative and recommended approaches to GDST compliance crafted in such a way to ease implementation among relevant disciplines especially IT, supply chain management, quality, and corporate sustainability and responsibility.

The GDST standard has been written to leverage global standards of identity and conveyance of logistics data, namely Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) XML. The GDST extends this existing standard for sustainability use cases in on-vessel and on-farm events. The standard has two components: written normative standards detailing the core requirements for data collection and file formatting and the GitHub, a space for developers to reference open source code and technical details for implementation.

Case Studies 

The GFTC conducted end-to-end traceability pilots as a way of evaluating and interrogating real-world seafood supply chains for identification, data collection, and sharing relationship requirements. After assessing the technological landscape through surveys and structured interviews, we modified our methodology used in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act pilots with a focus on leveraging existing standards, interoperability and technology adoption.  

The pilot methodology utilizes a Key Data Element / Critical Tracking Event matrix to structure relevant data needing to be collected at certain supply chain processes to achieve end-to-end traceability, especially pertaining to Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing. Using the Basic Universal List of KDEs developed by GDST seafood member input, GFTC maps supply chains of pilot participant companies, with a view to a diversity of geographic locations, commodities, company size, and technology adoption.  

Pilot Methodology Steps: 

  1. Identify Stakeholder Requirements 
  2. Define Process Flow 
  3. Develop Key Data Elements 
  4. Define Critical Tracking Events 
  5. Pilot Testing 
  6. Leverage Existing Standards 
  7. Develop Implementation Tools
  8. Drive Adoption 

GFTC End-to-End Traceability Pilot Methodology

pilot process flow diagram

GFTC End-to-End Traceability Pilot Methodology

pilot process flow diagram

Case Studies Available for Download

The following traceability pilot case studies are available for download in PDF format. For questions on pilots, reach out to [email protected].

GFTC Hackathon Sample

Examples of outputs include Nemo, a chatbot which posts catch information in the GDST standard to a blockchain.

Events & Hackathons

The GFTC has been crucial to the GDST process by convening technical experts from various disciplines. To ensure that the standards meet the needs of these skill sets (described in the documentation section), GFTC led technical workshops and “hackathons” to develop solutions to challenges raised by seafood companies. Hackathons are competitions wherein teams of developers sprint to create innovative proof of concepts to resolve questions put forward by seafood industry experts.

Implementation Exercise

  • Solution Provider Exercise (March 2021) an innovative interoperability implementation exercise to demonstrate solution providers’ workflows and choreographies to communicate traceability data.


  • The Bangkok Trackathon (February 2019) focused on blockchain integration and data collection challenges.
  • The Cologne Trackathon (October 2019) focused on leveraging GS1 standards and retail-specific technical questions.
  • The Bali Trackathon (October 2019) focused on producer data collection needs, data verification, and artificial intelligence techniques. 


How Can You Join the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability?

The GDST has grown into one of the largest and most diverse business-to-business forums in the seafood sector.

Learn more