From Bait to Plate: How USAID Oceans is employing tech solutions to improve seafood traceability in Southeast Asia

The following is an except from an article posted by implementing partner, Tetra Tech ARD. To read the full article and view photos from USAID Oceans’ work in the field, please visit

Every morning in General Santos City, Philippines, thousands of pounds of fresh tuna are offloaded at port from vessels returning from the high seas. Each tuna makes its way to stations in the port center, hoisted over the shoulders of a handful of men to be weighed, assigned a quality grade, and in many cases packed immediately for the first flight out of General Santos City airport to Manila’s international airport to be sent to markets all over the world.

Much of this tuna will make its final stop in markets and dinner plates across the United States, the largest importer of fish and seafood in the world. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US imported $21.5 billion dollars of seafood in 2017, a financial value increase of 10.5% from 2016. While the U.S. imports seafood from over 130 countries, Southeast Asia’s waters provide the bulk of its imports—particularly its supply of tuna.

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans) is currently one of the world’s largest seafood traceability initiatives, working across Southeast Asia to connect seafood supply chains through digital catch reporting technology—both for small-scale and large-scale, industrial operations. USAID Oceans works across Southeast Asia with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Coral Triangle member countries, like the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam to build the sustainability of these globally important fisheries and to protect global markets, food stocks, and livelihoods. By increasing the sustainability of Southeast Asia’s fisheries and working to eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices, benefits can be felt around the world…

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