Traceable seafood benefits fishermen

A system of tracking where your fish comes from promises accountability, but local fisherman who hold themselves to higher standards say it's also increasing business.
 
"I'm a firm believer in the quality of my product," said Bob Carter.
 
Carter has been fishing the Gulf of Mexico for more than 30 years. But in 2010, the BP oil spill threatened his livelihood.
 
"They closed down our fishing grounds, and you know I can't sit around. The wolf is always at the door," Carter said.
 
Carter is again based in Florida after fishing off the coast of Texas following the spill.
 
He is once again seeing success. Monday he offloaded more than 13,000 pounds of fish.
 
Once the fish is caught, it can be tracked from the boat to the dinner table with a type of seafood Social Security number.
 
"It's a fully traceable system that gives everybody the potential to see everybody who touched their fish through the process," said Jason Delacruz.
 
Delacruz is the executive director of Gulf Wild, a nonprofit that promotes transparency in commercial fishing.
 
Each Gulf Wild fish that comes off the boat is given a number that is tied to the captain.
 
Consumers can look up the number online allowing them to know where, when and who caught their fish.
 
"It's going to make these captains more aware with these tags that if they're not properly taking care of their fish it can be tracked right back to them," Carter said.
 
Delacruz said his idea was fast tracked when consumer confidence dropped following the BP oil spill.
 
"We wanted to figure out a solution to identify our product and where it came from so people knew it didn't come from polluted water or an oily zone," Delacruz said.
 
What he and other fishermen have found is that people are willing to pay a premium for traceable domestic seafood.
 
"I'm getting more money for my fish, maybe 15 or 20 cents more than everybody else. Sometimes a quarter, which in a load like this, adds up to a lot of money," said Carter.
 
To trace your seafood, visit the nonprofit's website: http://www.mygulfwild.us/GW/
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