Advancing end-to-end traceability

The guidance document aims to establish standardized traceability practices in
fisheries and aquaculture value chains. It highlights the importance of globally
agreed definitions for critical tracking events (CTEs) and key data elements
(KDEs) to achieve end-to-end, electronic, and interoperable traceability. The
document supports countries in implementing traceability, drawing on private
sector-led initiatives and collaboration with stakeholders from various regions.
The development process involved desk studies, online public consultations, and
virtual regional consultations to gather input and insights from diverse
Traceability systems in the seafood industry must be aligned with international e-
business standards to ensure interoperability and verifiability. The Global Dialogue
on Seafood Traceability (GDST) has developed standards and guidelines for
interoperable seafood traceability systems, which include identifying minimum
data elements and technical formats for data sharing among systems. The GDST
standards aim to improve supply chain insight and data security while enabling
digital data transfer between supply chain partners.
End market states play a crucial role in traceability, ensuring that imported fishery
products meet legal requirements and have valid traceability unique identifiers
linking to other types of states, critical tracking event points (CTEs), and key data
elements (KDEs). Fishery authorities must be involved in overseeing importation
and implementing verification processes, including coordination with customs,
health, and biosecurity authorities to prevent non-compliant products from entering
the territory.
Effective traceability systems in the seafood sector have been incentivized by
various factors, including media attention on legal and social risks, governmental
traceability requirements, and private-sector sustainability commitments. This
guidance document aims to provide technical advice on critical tracking events
(CTEs) and key data elements (KDEs) required for robust traceability along the
seafood value chain, addressing challenges related to inconsistent demands,
formats, and interoperability in traceability systems. It also highlights the
importance of coordination between different operators in the production chain and
the integration of cross-countries and national traceability.

The document suggests adopting industry-wide use of standards like the GDST
Standards and Guidelines for Interoperable Seafood Traceability Systems to
improve the reliability of seafood information and reduce traceability costs. It also
highlights the need for exhaustive understanding of supply chain events and
scenarios, consideration of small-scale producers and potential gaps in national
traceability systems, and a clear understanding of the current operational
advantages and limitations of existing traceability systems.