The need for an industry-driven global framework for seafood traceability was first publicly recognised by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Oceans in 2013. The Forum’s call for action led to the establishment of the Expert Panel on Legal and Traceable Wild Fish Products, which subsequently recommended the immediate launch of the Global Dialogue and set forth an initial vision of the benefits the Dialogue could deliver.

The 2015 Expert Panel’s publication, Recommendations for a Global Framework to Ensure the Legality and Traceability of Wild-Caught Fish Products, provides a concise analysis of key trends, developments and issues. The Panel unanimously identified eight major priorities and a review of the main challenges facing the seafood sector and pathways towards implementable solutions.

This recommendation is also supported by independent research conducted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) through its Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) as outlined in Interoperable Seafood Traceability: An Issue’s Brief.

Establishing a Global Dialogue

In 2015, regulatory developments and public attention focused on seafood sourcing was rapidly gaining international momentum. Following on the calls for action by the World Economic Forum and the Expert Panel, the conservation group WWF and the IFT’s GFTC joined together to begin organising the Global Dialogue.


Although WWF and the IFT’s GFTC are distinct organisations with very different missions, they share a strong desire to promote full-chain seafood traceability. Working together through a series of preparatory workshops around the world, they refined the vision for the Global Dialogue, in consultation with seafood industry leaders.

Although preparations for the Global Dialogue were organised by WWF and GFTC initially, the Dialogue itself is convened and controlled by its participants, drawn mainly from the seafood industry.

Full-chain traceability The ability to track forward and trace back at any point along the full supply chain, no matter how many trading or traceability partners and business process steps are involved.

Interoperable traceability The ability of one traceability system to work with other traceability systems to seamlessly exchange and interpret key data elements across all critical tracking events in the supply.