October is National Seafood Month, and to celebrate this event, seafood lovers may be getting ready to partake in their favorite dishes. But how does the average consumer know where their seafood was caught? Can they be sure what they are eating is what is on the label or menu?
Seafood follows an often complex path from the fishing boat to your dinner plate with little information making it to the final point of sale. This lack of information can cause confusion for consumers, and also increases the chance of illegal activities like seafood fraud, when seafood is misrepresented in any number of ways, including swapping out one fish for a completely different species. The key to stopping this bait and switch is traceability, or tracking seafood from boat to plate.
Oceana wants all seafood sold in the U.S. to be safe, legally caught and honestly labeled, and to accomplish this, we need traceability in the supply chain. By having seafood tracked from boat to plate, with information following the fish through complex supply chains, consumers can have more confidence in the seafood they eat.
In a celebration of traceable seafood, the Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association, in collaboration with Gulf Seafood Trace and the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition, has launched a new fall campaign promoting traceability of Gulf shrimp to show people exactly where their shrimp comes from.
The Gulf Coast Seafood Fall Shrimp Celebration, called “Every Shrimp has a Tale,” started on September 8 and runs through November 23. Patrons eating at more than 50 Mississippi restaurant can simply scan a QR code with their smartphone, and they will be able to to access a map that traces their exact shrimp’s journey from the Gulf waters to their dinner plate.
The success of traceability programs like these show that traceable seafood is possible and desired. Consumers want to know where their food comes from, especially food that supports the local culture and livelihoods in their hometowns.
For more information and interactive activities, you can visit the Gulf Shrimp Tales website, where you can take a shrimp quiz, learn new shrimp recipes and enter contests to send them your best shrimp instagram pictures and vine videos!