Every day, more than 2,500 consumers trace their seafood on Thisfish.info as they learn about the BC fishermen who caught their dinner.
Consumer trends and government regulations geared to new traceability and sustainability standards for seafood could have had a negative impact on Vancouver Island fisheries. Smaller fisheries would have been most impacted, given the costs of existing accreditation programs. Some fish were also being undervalued or declared off limits by retailers due to lack of knowledge of the origins or methods of catch. Consumers have also become savvier, wanting to know more about the sustainability, health, safety, local sourcing, and quality of their food.
To maintain the economic viability of the coastal fishing industry, the West Coast Trollers Association, Ecotrust Canada and other partners developed a cost effective traceability system called ThisFish. The project involved the creation of a web-based data base which provided fields of relevant information to various users. The result is a simple, user friendly, online traceability system, called ThisFish, which allows consumers to trace their seafood back to the fisherman who caught it using computers, tablets and smart phones. As well, a marketing campaign increased consumer awareness of locally caught fish.
Completed in 2013, ThisFish has demonstrated that value can be added to seafood products without the need for expensive infrastructure. The system has been widely adopted by several major grocery chains and seafood restaurants. In 2011, 1.6 million pounds of seafood from Vancouver Island communities were traceable through This Fish. In Ucluelet alone, more than 720,000 lbs of seafood were traced. Every day, more than 2,500 consumers trace their seafood on Thisfish.info as they learn about the BC fishermen who caught their dinner.