From Sea to Fork: European Sea2See project for seafood traceability
The Sea2See project has recently started with the aim of implementing a blockchain technology system to improve transparency in the seafood sector. The project is co-funded by the European Union and involves several European partners, including SUBMON. Within this project, our role will be designing a consumer engagement strategy to identify and overcome barriers to sustainable seafood consumption, enhance consumers’ trust and raise awareness of seafood sustainability.
Fishery and aquaculture products are an essential source of protein and a crucial component of a daily diet for many people around the globe. Three-quarters of the fish or seafood consumed in the EU comes from wild fisheries, while the remaining quarter comes from aquaculture.
In the past several years, sustainability has become an essential issue in the seafood sector for many consumers, who are increasingly interested in product attributes such as Eco-friendliness, organic production and national/European origin, among others. In this sense, the European Union’s environmental and food safety policies seek to ensure more sustainable, inclusive, safe, and healthy seafood production and consumption in its territory.
Digitized systems are a novel approach to ensuring seafood traceability, and their use is becoming more standard worldwide. However, a higher level of transparency regarding the species, their origin and the method of production is demanded by stakeholders who are purchasing, consuming, retailing, and selling seafood products. This technology improvement could ensure seafood traceability and, in many cases, could be an ally for fish stocks and ecosystem conservation.
Therefore, the Sea2See project looks to build consumer confidence and acceptance of sustainably caught or farmed seafood in Europe. To achieve this goal, we, as a consortium, will develop an innovative end-to-end blockchain-based traceability platform used throughout the seafood value chain. Furthermore, we will implement actions targeting stakeholders to co-create this traceability tool and enhance their trust and acceptance of European seafood products. Finally, the novel Sea2See traceability system will be tested and validated in 5 pilot sites to trace the value chain of different seafood products.
Carlos Mazorra, Sea2See Project Coordinator, said: “The interactive and accessible blockchain-based platform the Sea2See project is developing will contribute to increase Trust significantly, Transparency and Traceability of the European Seafood Sector throughout the value chain, and to implement societal and sectoral strategies for co-creation, communication and awareness-raising about the benefits of sustainably fished and farmed nutritious seafood, from the producer to the end consumer.”
Consequently, the Sea2See project aims to engage with relevant actors throughout the seafood value chain, to make their products more trustable and competitive on the market, becoming preferred purchasing options by consumers. SUBMON will specifically focus on identifying and targeting key stakeholders and developing a consumer engagement strategy to identify and overcome the knowledge gaps and barriers of consumers related to sustainable seafood consumption and acceptance.
In this sense, SUBMON will lead processes to co-create solutions for consumers’ acceptance and trust in seafood as a Hackathon, a MOOC, several pilot activities, and the production of awareness materials to increase seafood literacy in European society.
The Sea2See project aims to improve the traceability and transparency of seafood products sold on the European market, making sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices more visible. Furthermore, the Sea2See tool will provide helpful information to consumers to shed light on the seafood industry sector and support our decisions while buying seafood products.