From Hook to Cook – How Electronic Monitoring Can Be Valuable for Fishermen and Consumers


Published January 3, 2014
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    Poster by: TJ Tate, Jason DeLaCruz, Eric Brazer

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    The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance believes that stewardship and leadership are key to a successful fishery. They understand that without healthy fish populations, fishing businesses will suffer and the American public loses the opportunity to eat fresh, sustainably caught fish. The fishermen of the Shareholders’ Alliance are bringing cutting-edge technology to their wheelhouse by using electronic reporting systems and voluntary video monitoring to improve the quality of fisheries science and the ability to make the most effective real-time decisions on the water. They believe that cameras are one tool that can improve accountability in fisheries management and stock assessments.

    But accountability doesn’t stop there. On land, these responsibly-harvested fish are being tracked from the boat to the plate. Through the use of a unique barcode tagging program, the Gulf Wild brand ensures that 19 species of fish plus the incidental bycatch species can be identified and traced back to the very area, boat, and captain who works to provide that fish to the American consumer. Gulf Wild branded seafood sets the standard for genuine, responsibly-caught and safety tested seafood, and it’s all trackable back to the accountable fishermen who bring it in. This program was conceived by fishermen and is endorsed by fishermen, along with conservation organizations, culinary institutions, restaurants, and by consumers themselves.

    The Shareholders’ Alliance and Gulf Wild see a future where better information leads to better decision-making. These proactive organizations have found ways to use technology to promote conservation and consumption together – fishermen who participate in Gulf Wild sign agree to “conservation covenants” that include the use of cameras or similar technologies when available to promote and document sustainable harvesting. Their ongoing work further seeks to find ways to use electronic monitoring to blend responsible fishing practices with value-added product. By providing the consumer a visual glimpse into “a day in the life” of the responsible fishermen who harvested this fish, electronic monitoring will help these fishermen not only tell the story behind the seafood but work toward healthy fisheries for future generations.


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