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John West Customers Click to Trace their Tuna

John West, a leading brand of canned tuna and salmon in the U.K., has launched an online tracker to help customers sniff out the origin of their fish.

Consumers can go to www.john-west.co.uk (screenshot above) and enter their barcode and can code to find out where their fish was caught.

BusinessGreen reports that the tracking tool will identify the fish’s origin right down to the boat that made the catch.

John West is using custom software, developed in-house, for the tracking website. Although this is the first time it has made such detailed information publicly available, managing director Paul Reenan said the company has been tracking its supply chain for the past ten years.

The company says it is the only U.K. and Ireland canned seafood manufacturer to wholly own a fleet of vessels, and that doing so gives it visibility over its whole fishing supply chain.

Writing recent for Environmental Leader, High Liner Foods corporate sustainability director Bill DiMento noted the importance of data accuracy and transparency to seafood supply chains.

“Using the most advanced traceability technologies available, processors can provide to their customers product-specific data, including what has been sold over a specific period of time, what the source fishery or aquaculture facility is, the Latin species name, and the ‘gear type, or method in which the fish was sourced,” DiMento said.

“Achieving this level of transparency and accuracy of data is a major undertaking, and will likely be the puzzle that keeps many company heads of sustainability awake at night.”

High Liner Foods said last December that it will source all of its seafood from certified sustainable or responsible fisheries and aquaculture farms by the end of 2013.

On its website, John West says its sustainability principles include:

  • Not fishing in areas where certain species are under threat from overfishing
  • Fully supporting the Pacific Commons Proposal, which will allow fish stocks to recover and help to boost the local economy
  • Sourcing fish from well-managed fisheries, which help to maintain stocks and protect ecosystems.

The company pledges that by the end of 2016, 100 per cent of its U.K. sales of tuna will be sourced from a mixture of pole and line, and purse seine catch methods, free from fish aggregation devices.

John West is a founding member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, a collaboration of scientists, industry and NGOs, and works with the Marine Stewardship Council and Earth Island Institute.

The company says its range of salmon, mackerel and sardines will soon carry the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo, which commits to source these species from MSC certified fisheries.

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