The Global Language of Business

Fish traceability and the e-Locate Framework

Fishing Boats Image eLocate GS1

Capturing Ireland’s share of the global seafood opportunity

“Capturing Ireland’s share of the global seafood opportunity” is the goal defined by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) in its 2013 - 2017 strategy. The strategy sets out an ambitious plan to deliver jobs and €1 billion in annual seafood sales by building scale and enhancing competitiveness in the Irish seafood sector.

The aim is to capitalise on global opportunities for global seafood sales in the future, particularly in the Asia Pacific markets. Expanding the available raw material base, optimising the added value of products, developing efficient supply chains and capitalising on Ireland’s long held reputation for high quality, natural and traceable food production are all necessary steps to capture the opportunity that lies ahead.

Meeting EU Regulations and Consumer Demands for Fish Traceability

SFPA LogoAgainst the current backdrop of economic conditions and strategic objectives, combined with a number of European regulations stipulating specific information and process requirements for traceability, industry stakeholders including Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA), GS1 Ireland and the fishing cooperatives and processors, came together in 2012 to initiate a multi-phase project to enable best-in-class traceability for the fish sector.

BIM LogoThe goal is to ensure that the Irish fisheries industry is utilising the latest equipment and software, and to position Ireland as a global leader in seafood supply through its commitment to quality and sustainability, its modern production capabilities and its adoption of international best practices and standards for traceability.

Supporting Industry Collaboration

One of the core remits of GS1 is to facilitate industry collaboration to define solutions for non-competitive supply chain challenges, such as regulatory compliance, process efficiency, supply chain visibility and traceability. Given its long history in managing supply chain standards and frameworks for traceability, GS1 Ireland was invited to contribute to the Irish fish traceability initiative.

In late 2012 GS1 Ireland began working alongside BIM and the SFPA to coordinate an assessment of international best practices in the use of weighing, labelling and traceability technology and to define a roadmap for the adoption of best-in-class, robust solutions for the sector. GS1 worked with BIM & the SFPA to define an industry-wide, standardised fish traceability solution that would meet current European requirements for labelling and product information sharing and that would also be capable of meeting the future information demands of customers and consumers, at home and overseas.

Blue e-Locate LogoThe e-LOCATE Fish Traceability Framework

The European regulations, EC 1224/2009 and EC 404/2011, make specific stipulations regarding the capturing and sharing of traceability information for fish and aquaculture products. The regulations require that all lots of fisheries products are traceable at all stages of production, processing and distribution, from catching or harvesting, to sale to the final consumer. This requirement places particular demands on the way product is handled, packaged, stored, sold and processed, right along the supply chain, from the fishing vessel to the end consumer, to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of the information.

The SFPA / BIM led project, called e-LOCATE is designed to promote the efficient and secure collection, management  and sharing of product information, through the adoption of global standards and best practices for weighing, labelling and data exchange.

BIM and the SFPA launched the EU funded e-LOCATE scheme during 2013 to provide financial assistance to Irish seafood enterprises for the implementation of new hardware and software for weighing, labelling and traceability. Key to the project was enabling the industry’s transition away from paper-based documentation to adopting modern automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) technologies such as bar code scanning, that could facilitate the storing and sharing of information in a standardised, electronic way.

The e-LOCATE traceability framework has also been future-proofed with the inclusion of fish product information, such as lot number, producer details or product origin information, accessible via cloud based platforms, based on the GS1 Standard Electronic Product Code Information Service (EPCIS). Frameworks such as e-LOCATE are pivotal in enabling industry to transition forward to create the “digital supply chain” for the future.

As a result of the e-LOCATE initiative Ireland’s fisheries industry is well on its way to implementing a globally best-in-class traceability solution, unparalleled in other jurisdictions. In fact, as a result of the Irish initiative, existing global supply chain standards were reviewed and augmented to take account of the specific business and trading needs of the fish industry; and this was initiated as a direct result of the progressive work being undertaken here in Ireland.

As part of the project GS1 Ireland briefed the European Union’s Fisheries Control Expert Working Group, with representatives from all 28 relevant Fish & Marine Regulatory Authorities in the EU, and representatives of the European Commission on the Irish e-LOCATE project. It was acknowledged by the Expert Working Group that the use of GS1 Standards would help various control authorities to achieve compliance with the regulations.

“Enabling consumers to access product information, such as ingredients, nutritional data, Sustainability credentials or Country of Origin, for example, will be a key enabler of creating brand value and product differentiation for Irish food producers in the future,” commented Denis O’Brien, Director of Standards and Solutions, GS1 Ireland.

For further information on the e-Locate initiative and the adoption of GS1 standards for item identification, barcoding and data sharing please contact us on +353 1 208 0660 or click the button below to request a call back.