September 26, 2003



Scotland's New Software To Trace Fish


A breakthrough technology which has been on trial in Scotland for just over a month, promises some groundbreaking quality control and environmental benefits for the fish industry, through enabling a automatic collection of a vast range of data such as precise catch size, location, time caught, sea temperature and depth.

Young's, the UK's biggest seafood company, is working directly with the fishing fleet in Stornoway and C-Trace - a software development company - to trial the system. This means that Young's will now be able to track the fish all the way from the net to end product in the supermarket.

A 3-month trial has been set, by which end real time data delivery from the vessels will be secured via satellite to a secure server. Subsequently, buyers can then access the information about the catch via website, no matter which part of the country they are in.

The company is confident that its new tracking system will soon find its way into fishing markets. "It's certainly making a huge difference to traceability. I think we can safely say we can trace the fish back from the bottom of the sea to any of our customers. It's a very important development," Young's spokesman was quoted as saying.

Once the technology is being used commercially, it would cost around 40,000 Euro per vessel.

Deputy chief executive of Young's, Mike Parker, believes that complete traceability is a vital part of the drive for long-term environmental sustainability.

"The system produces unrivalled information about raw material which is a superb benefit to helping us improve product quality throughout the supply chain. It should prove an invaluable aid to processors such as ourselves who are working hard with our suppliers towards environmental best practice," he said.

In future, the data collected on factors such as tides, catches and sea temperatures will also contribute to the scientific understanding of fisheries management, aiding long-term conservation projects.