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Премия рунета 2017

WWF publishes the results of case study on Russian king crab sourcing and traceability

16 june 2020
The case study conducted with Orca Bay Seafoods, LLC, scrutinizes all stages of fishing and delivery of frozen king crab products from Russian seas to store shelves in the USA aimed to prove legal sourcing of the products.

WWF-Russia staff members and Orca Bay managers were among the experts who conducted a large-scale survey in Kamchatka, Primorye, South Korea, Japan, and the USA. They met with fisheries representatives, scrutinized documents and verified product labelling at key stages of the delivery process. Using a specific shipment as an example, the experts tried to track crab from the moment of catching to the moment of selling products to a retailer. The study and report finalization took about two years.

“The majority of crab caught in Russian waters is exported. The USA is the main buyer of these products. Any kind of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and selling of illegally caught seafood are strictly punishable. That is why bulk buyers want to be absolutely sure that there are no law violations during catching, transshipment, or delivery. They want to be able to trace the products all the way from a fishing vessel to a store shelf,” said Sergey Rafanov, director of WWF-Russia’s Kamchatka/Bering Sea Ecoregional Office, acting director of Sustainable Marine Fishery Program.

After transshipment in the Sea of Okhotsk, Russian crab is first delivered to Vladivostok. Then it is sent to Busan, South Korea, and then all the way across the Pacific Ocean to Seattle, USA. Experts used AIS system data from the fishing vessels and encouraged fishermen to mark their products with QR-codes to enable tracing of the shipment.

“Orca Bay Seafoods approached WWF-US looking for help. The company managers wanted to better understand the mechanisms of Russian state control, custom procedures, find weak links (if there were any) in the chain of custody and define additional measures for better product tracing. It is important to emphasize that the survey was focused only on shipments sent to Orca Bay. The experts did not scrutinize all crab export of Russia, of course,” said Sergey Rafanov.

The experts proved legal sourcing of Russian king crab shipments. More importantly, they created a precedent and tested the traceability system which can provide significant assurances to supply chain partners, regulators, and consumers. The system can be used as an additional tool for government actions fighting IUU fishing.

photo in the preview - © WWF / Heather Brandon
photo in the head - © Vladimir Filatkin
For additional information please contact
Head of WWF Kamchatka/Bering Sea Ecoregional Office