Tracking your seafood origin: Maine fishermen receive 'boat to plate' funding

Shoppers can use smartphone to find out where and when fish was caught
Posted:  Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 7:45pm

The Maine Coast Fishermen's Association in Port Clyde is getting a $175,000 federal grant to develop a program that would let consumers know not only where and when seafood was caught, but could even identify the fisherman who caught it. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, worked with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help secure the grant for Maine.

"We've got a fantastic product coming out of the Gulf of Maine and being able to trace seafood from the boat to the plate creates a direct connection between the fisherman and the consumer," Pingree said, in a news release. "That's going to add value which is good for fishermen and good for fishing communities."

The Maine Coast Fishermen's Association will be working with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and Hannaford Supermarkets to develop a system that tracks seafood from the boat, through the supply chain and all the way to the grocery store. The goal is to eventually allow consumers to scan a tag at the store and see where and when the fish was caught, and maybe even the fisherman who caught it.

Ben Martens, Executive Director of the Midcoast Fishermen's Association, said that tracing seafood isn't easy because there can be a lot of middlemen involved, but says they are developing a system that will work.

"We've got the right partners to put a system in place that will track fish from the boat right to your plate," Martens said. "And we're grateful for the help from Congresswoman Pingree to get this critical funding to move this project forward."