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At AquaNor 2011, FHL (the Norweigan Seafood Federation) along with the seafood industry, launched a new bar code system, which will offer traceability of fish. Charlotte Johnston, TheFishSite editor spoke with Director Per Dag Iverson about the system.

"The idea is to create one standard which will be used by fishermen, farmers, processors, retailers and customers," said Mr Iverson.

"This will make is easier for participants in the supply chain to work together."

Since January 2010, Norwegian seafood producers have been required to label the date and origin of their catch on the box, under a catch certificate scheme adopted by the European Union in 2008. The label helps inform customers about the quality of the catch.

The problem, Mr Iverson explained, is that each producer has a different method for labelling fish, making it difficult for those along the supply chain to track products.

The idea of a standardised labelling system stemmed from the transporters - who effectively demanded one system for all, said Mr Iverson.

After several meetings, in which current problems and ideas were discussed, it was decided that something new was needed.

Discussions about the barcode have been going on for about six months. "It was important to ensure that we had all the correct info on the barcodes," said Mr Iverson.

Now agreed, the barcode has been introduced as a Norwegian standard. Mr Iverson said that the idea is been rolled out in Europe, with FHL taking the idea to the EU, in hope that it will be introduced as a European standards. "Considering that the majority of Norwegian seafood is exported, this makes complete sense," he said.

The system is currently voluntary, said Mr Iverson. However some fishmongers are saying that if producers do not use the system, their fish will not be recognised.

The barcode can be traced internationally, allowing suppliers details to be found almost immediately as required. By scanning the bar code information such as where the fish is from, when the fish was caught, how it was landed, whether it is farmed or wild, any treatments undertaken, the size of the fish etc can be found.

Mr Iverson said: "The system is completely unique. If put into place it will be the first time that all players in the food chain co-operate to ensure full traceability.

It is expected to be implemented in Norway in 2012.

September 2011

the Fish Site Editor

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