Changing regulatory and commercial demands are requiring a greater flow of information within the seafood supply chain. However, getting reliable information from suppliers and sharing information with customers can raise important issues of responsibility and trust.
Meeting new demands for information about seafood sources – whether to prove legal origin, gain supply chain control, meet consumer demand, or reduce brand risks – requires finding suppliers whose information can be trusted.
A new global framework for interoperable seafood traceability must address important considerations relating to data verification and data control, as well as help identify who in the supply chain is responsible for creating or handling different types of information.
The Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability will help build a two-way, positive relationship between interoperability and data quality by:
- aligning the various definitions of key data elements (KDEs) and shared technical standards for data communication, which will help make it easier to confirm the quality and origins of seafood data; and
- articulating new industry-wide guidelines for data authentication and verification, which will help develop shared expectations and create a system where non-conforming information will be easier to spot and avoid.
A FRAMEWORK FOR DATA SHARING = GOOD DATA CONTROL
Interoperability and increased information access does not equate to loss of data control. On the contrary, one of the key elements of interoperability is an agreed set of protocols and expectations for regulating data access and ensuring data security, so that business-sensitive information can be shared with supply chain partners without competitive risk. In addition, since interoperability will make it easier for companies to switch between different traceability solutions, there will be less risk of being “captured” by vendors who own the formats for the companies’ data.
ACCESS TO ORIGINAL DATA = REDUCED DATA HANDLING
Some companies fear that the combination of more information and full-chain traceability translates as increased data handling costs and responsibilities for companies in the middle of the supply chain. However, a good framework for interoperable traceability should have the opposite effect, as it will standardise the way information is associated with products and improve direct access to original data sources. Instead of being responsible for information, mid-chain companies can give their customers – or their customers’ customers – the ability to get the information they need directly from the source.