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Watchword: Traceability

To draw attention to the best and brightest ideas in sustainability, the Lexicon of Sustainability's Food List project defines the words that are integral to a healthy, transparent, and accountable food system. Each week, we explore a new word through artwork, films, recipes, and written works. See all Food List words here. 

Traceability: Traceability provides consumers with valuable, verifiable information about the seafood they buy. It helps explain the integrity of the product, its origin, true identity, and its legal production under a competent management regime. Traceability means accountability; it's a guide for responsible ocean stewardship and a safeguard protecting a vital natural resource.

Title: Traceability
Location: Norpac, Honolulu, HI
Featuring: Scott Fraser
Image Credit: Douglas Gayeton for the Lexicon of Sustainability

Short film: "Transparency"

Studies show that nearly one-third of all the fish that consumers buy isn'€™t what they think it is. Scotty Fraser of Norpac in Honolulu, Hawaii explains that one possible solution for seafood fraud is traceability, which tracks fish from the moment it leaves to water until it ends up on your plate, providing consumers with valuable information about the fish they buy.

Traceability from lexicon of sustainability on Vimeo.

Learn more about traceability in the seafood industry with these resources.

Fish 101: Every Fish Has a Tale. Why story matters to the ocean. The real victim of seafood fraud and mislabeling is not the consumer; it'€™s the ocean. If we can'€™t build a global market in which responsibly harvested fish garners a better price than fish caught by plunderers and pirates, then no economic incentives exist to spur industry change.

Seafood Traceability: The Business Case for Better Data. The problems caused by seafood fraud can'™t be fixed simply by the decision of a few consumers to "eat local."€ We need to rebuild the systems and behaviors of the global interconnected brokers, corporations and governments that touch your food before it hits your plate. Pulling that off will require better data.

Helping businesses become ocean stewards and change agents. We a€™re seeing a growing number of businesses using their market influence to affect positive change up and down the supply chain. By educating their clients, customers and suppliers about the importance of sustainable seafood, these businesses not only become powerful agents of change, but they set themselves apart in the marketplace.

For the past three years, the Lexicon of Sustainability has sought out the foremost practitioners of sustainability in food and farming to gain their insights and experiences on this important subject. What began as a photography project to spread their knowledge has grown to include short films, study guides, traveling shows, a book, and a website where people can add their own terms to this ever-evolving lexicon. See more at

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