Catch Documentation and Traceability

Asia-Pacific’s oceans and marine bounty are under siege. While there are many destructive impacting forces, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has been identified as a leading threat to the fish stocks, marine ecosystems and overall fisheries sustainability. In Asia-Pacific, annual IUU fishing is estimated at 1.3-2.7 million tons, which is 8-16% of total reported catch. The total value of IUU fishing in Asia is estimated as $5.8 billion per year, and is fueled by insufficient fisheries management and a lack of transparency in the seafood supply chain. Without coordinated supply chain data, illegal activities will continue to go undetected. In response to the threat that IUU fishing poses to fisheries sustainability, seafood traceability is growing in demand.

Electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) is the practice of documenting key information about the harvest, processing, and transportation of a fisheries product to enable traceability of the seafood product back through each step of its journey — from point of catch to the consumer’s plate. Doing so electronically, electronic catch documentation and traceability(eCDT) enables this information to be more quickly and easily captured, shared, and managed. eCDT provides a practical way to:

  • Ensure fisheries resources are legally caught and properly labeled;
  • Encourage the collection and analysis of ecological and economic data throughout the seafood supply chain;
  • Support effective national fisheries management and fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance; and
  • Comply with national, regional and international seafood regulations and import requirements.

What is USAID Oceans’ Approach?

USAID Oceans supports the development and implementation of transparent and financially sustainable eCDT systems that bolster the abilities of Asia-Pacific nations to combat IUU fishing practices, enhance fisheries management, and protect its citizens from human rights and labor abuses – including those that result from gender inequality. Challenges for eCDT across Southeast Asia vary greatly by country, but commonly include a lack of supporting fisheries policies and regulations; inefficient or outdated documentation protocols; unsynchronized documentation processes throughout the supply chain; a lack of harmonized efforts across national or regional fisheries agencies; and inadequate infrastructure for electronic data capture. eCDT initiatives require a great amount of coordination, cooperation and cohesive action.

Accordingly, USAID Oceans works with ASEAN and Coral Triangle member countries to develop and strengthen eCDT solutions that acknowledge their individual priorities, requirements and capabilities. USAID Oceans supports countries to implement ready-made eCDT solutions, through the SEAFDEC electronic ASEAN Catch Documentation Scheme (eACDS), as well as provides guidance to countries that may have more complex fisheries and advanced capabilities that wish to develop a custom-built system.

USAID Oceans has worked closely with stakeholders to identify, design, and develop suitable tools to establish connectivity in remote and at-sea areas; provide mechanisms for data collection and transmission through the entire supply chain; and develop value-added user benefits, such as communication, safety, and business tools.

Learn more about USAID Oceans’ eCDT solutions.

USAID Oceans supports:

  • Electronic CDT systems that further data-driven management;
  • Deployment of cutting-edge technology;
  • Inclusive solutions for small-and large-scale fisheries;
  • Thought leadership for eCDT and collection standards; and
  • Capacity building.

Who can use and benefit from eCDT systems?

To capture and exchange ‘traceable’ data reliably within such a diverse environment of supply chain actors presents a variety of technical, political, and logistical challenges. In order to be successful, USAID Oceans accounts for and incorporates the diverse needs and perspectives of different stakeholder groups within the supply chain. These groups include, but are not limited to:

  • Fisheries supply chain actors (e.g., fishers, processors, retailers, etc.);
  • Government agencies;
  • Customs agencies;
  • Fisheries authorities;
  • Certifiers;
  • Non-governmental organizations; and
  • Technology suppliers.

What has USAID Oceans Achieved?

USAID Oceans has provided support to regional, national and local partners to further eCDT initiatives, together with the program’s fisheries management, partnerships and human welfare activities. USAID Oceans has:

  • Established a Technical Advisory Group with representatives from leading fisheries development organizations, non-governmental organizations, and standards organizations;
  • Developed guidance on CDT concepts, technical specifications, data elements, and collection standards;
  • Conducted Value Chain and CDT Gaps Analyses to inform country-specific CDT roadmaps and development plans;
  • Increased the capacity of national fisheries agencies to develop and maintain electronic CDT systems that are capable of linking with broader national fisheries information systems; and
  • Partnered with the private sector to select or create technical solutions that accommodate market requirements, national capabilities and user needs.

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