Provenance of Global Seafood

R. A. Watson, B. S. Green, S. Tracey, A. Farmery, T. J. Pitcher, 2016. Fish and Fisheries, 17: 585-595.

Export, import, mapping, Seafood consumption, provenance, seafood


Knowing where and how seafood is caught or farmed is central to empowering consumers, and the importers that supply them, with informed choices. Given the wide-ranging, complex and at times commercially sensitive nature of global seafood trade, it can prove very challenging to link imported seafood with information about its provenance. The databases involved are incomplete, at times vague and not harmonized. Here, we present a first attempt to link all global seafood imports through a virtual marketplace to exports and map their origins. Considerable work remains to ground-truth the specific origins of all seafood commodities. We illustrate the flow of seafood and its evolution since the 1970s when supporting records began. This work allows the impact of fishing or marine farming to be associated with seafood imports.