GS1 US®Sponsors
Seafood Hackathon

GS1 Standards on the Hook: Solving Traceability and Transparency Challenges in the Seafood Industry

The demand to move visibility further and further upstream is becoming increasingly important for the seafood industry. More and more, socially responsible consumers want access to the full story of a product. This proves to be particularly challenging in the seafood industry for several reasons:

  • Harvesting or catch occurs in far flung locations
  • Current data capture practices likely include pen and paper
  • Vessel captains and workers aren't focused on supply chain visibility

The seafood community is also facing issues related to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, leading to over-fishing and the endangerment of commercial fishing stocks. The development of practical and easy-to-use technology in the rough waters of the seafood industry is more critical than ever. Thankfully, solutions that incorporate standards and technology are being explored in creative ways.

Standards + Tech = Solutions

It’s no secret that technology can help solve a seemingly endless number of business problems. But what happens when we build technology without thinking about standards first? Trust becomes hard to build…scalability nears impossible…transparency is lost before it ever has a chance…the list goes on. In other words, technology without standards can be seriously problematic. Including data standards in the equation from the start prepares technology to meet exponential needs in the future.

To help address this need for the seafood industry, in February 2019 GS1 US sponsored and supported the Seafood Traceability Hackathon1 in partnership with the Global Dialogue for Seafood Traceability2 (GDST). The event aimed to address seafood traceability and interoperability through the development of standards-based technologies. Gena Morgan, Strategic Innovation Consultant with GS1 US, provided subject matter expertise and served as a judge of the event.

Standards and Tech in Action:
The Nemo App, Hackathon 3rd Prize Winner


Including standards in the equation generates solutions that are interoperable, transparent and scalable. The Nemo app pairs artificial intelligence and the EPCIS standard, giving fishermen a solution that is both user-friendly and functional downstream.

Pilot efforts between GS1 US and the GDST successfully showcased that GS1 Standards could help address the industry’s traceability and transparency issues. These pilots included the use of GS1 identifiers like Global Trade Item Number® (GTIN®), GLN, data carriers (GS1-128), and the EPCIS and Core Business Vocabulary standards for capturing and sharing physical event data.

The Hackathon built upon these pilot efforts. Participants had 24 hours to develop solutions to challenge statements involving data capture, sharing, and verification. Trust in the data, ease of use and global applicability were critical elements of each challenge given. The judging panel reviewed six submissions and chose several winners:

1st Prize: Blueprint

The Blueprint team presented a mobile app for fishermen with various degrees of education and skills to record fishing trip report documents with text and photos. The app automatically identifies type of fish and species via machine learning. 

2nd Prize: Traceability for Small Scale Fisheries

The runner-up developer created a traceability solution to solve data capture challenges through an application for vessel captains. The application also addressed data entry validation, interoperability and date exchange between traceability systems.

3rd Prize: Nemo

The Nemo developer created a chat interface to automate the manual process of writing in a logbook. The app incentivizes data entry via reward micro-interaction and gives actionable warnings and data validation that automatically generates reports in EPCIS format.

The impressive technology that came out of just 24 hours of coding has set the stage for real, scalable solutions that marry standards and technology to address the seafood industry’s unique challenges. The GDST plans to support these solutions further and will continue to develop interoperable traceability systems across the industry.

1. [DevPost. Bringing order to the chaos of seafood traceability. Retrieved 1 July 2019 from]2. [Global Dialog for Seafood Traceability. What is the global dialogue? Retrieved 1 July 2019 from]