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Geographic traceability tools for commercial fish and fish products - FA0118

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing combined with mislabelling of fisheries products within the food supply chain represents one of the largest global illegal trades that simultaneously reduces our ability to sustainably manage marine resources, damages the legal fishing industry and defrauds consumers. Monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing effort through vessel licensing and monitoring schemes help to reduce illegal fishing in UK waters; however such systems have limited ability to identify catches and cannot prevent mislabelling after landing. The use of DNA technology to identify fish species and thereby detect illegality has been widely demonstrated in the United Kingdom (UK) and internationally but until now, within species, there has been no possibility to identify the population of origin of fish. From 2011, EC Regulation No. 1224/2009 (Art 58) requires all fish products to be labelled with species and geographic origin information, establishing a verifiable claim that can be tested for authenticity. Article 13 of the same regulation explicitly requires EUMember States to undertake pilot studies of novel traceability tools by 2013. May 2011 saw the completion of FishPopTrace , a UK-coordinated €4M EU-FP7 research project to elucidate population structure and design DNA traceability systems for four species of commercial fish: cod, herring, sole and hake. These two developments provide the framework for the transfer and application of DNA traceability tools for self-regulation, monitoring and enforcement of the fishing industry at a scale not previously possible.
Refinement of FishPopTrace research outputs to focus specifically on fisheries issues relevant to the UK.
• Collaboration with UK governmental, non-governmental and industry representatives responsible for fish product authenticity to ensure the delivery of practical solutions which meet stakeholder needs.
• Transfer and refinement of traceability assays to address UK fisheries authenticity issues.
• Performance of validation studies to convert research methods into approved Standard Operating Procedures.
• Demonstration of novel tools for investigating suspected IUU fishing and mislabelling in the marketplace.

Additional outputs.
• A framework for UK marine monitoring and enforcement agencies to access DNA technologies for other applications, such as species identification.
• A robust, realistic deterrent to help improve compliance within the fishing industry.
• Support for delivery against EC Regulation No.1224/2009
• A UK lead in the global fight against IUU fishing, showcasing its scientific capacity and commitment to sustainability and biodiversity conservation.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : Final Report FA0118   (3131k)
• SUP - Supplementary Report : Appendix VII External validation report   (6866k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2013

Cost: £128,391
Contractor / Funded Organisations
L G C Limited
Food and Drink