Demand for seafood products is increasing worldwide, contributing to ever more complex supply chains and hampering traceability efforts. Despite marked improvements in traceability and transparency, a mix of genuine errors, malpractice, and fraudulent behaviour still plague the seafood supply chain, from oceans to plate. DNA-based methods have been brought forward as an effective tool not only to manage fisheries but also to improve the continuous and regular monitoring of transparency and traceability along the supply chain. While DNA-based methods have proven to be reliable in verifying seafood authenticity at the species level, the identification of intra-specific sub-groups remains inherently more complex, making the implementation of any one tool difficult and their use by the industry and authorities more cryptic. Furthermore, the ever-evolving speed and portability of these tools, which are highly advantageous features, necessitate further testing and validating.
This keynote will expand some of the drivers which might allow mislabelling to persevere (i.e. lack of consumer knowledge, shortcomings of species identification methods, absence of a framework for the use of geographical point-of-origin detection tools) and explores some of the associated solutions that could help strengthen the monitoring of seafood products, verify compliance, and tackle fraud in the seafood industry. We will attempt to bridge the increasing demand for simple traceability and transparency tools with some of the existing and newly developed technologies and propose frameworks and strategies for their adoptions in practical contexts.
Marine Cusa is a marine scientist who, fittingly, grew up on a sailboat and now works towards fighting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing with Oceana in Europe. She regularly engages with businesses, stakeholders, and policy makers to highlight the importance of robust seafood traceability and to facilitate its development. She obtained her PhD in 2022 where she focused on testing and developing genetic methods to improve seafood traceability and to prevent fraud in the seafood industry.
Her expertise lies primarily in exploring the use of portable molecular tools that permit the quick in situ identification of marine specimen, and in using background population genetics knowledge to develop technologies that can help identify where marketed fish products were caught.
Marine is an avid science communicator and owns a video channel where she talks about her work and the work of other marine biologists. Additionally, she has extensive knowledge in Arctic marine ecology and has worked as a consultant on a variety of topics, including the prevalence of marine plastics in Arctic waters and the effect of climate change on Arctic and Boreal fish species. She has substantial experience working on board research vessels and conducting experiments and analyses in the field.