Improving Fisheries Management

Universal Fishery IDs

One unique, standard code for every fishery

The Universal Fishery IDs is a collaboration between Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to ensure discussion across the seafood industry, governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders is about the same fisheries and stocks. 

These publicly available fishery IDs are powered by SFP’s FishSource, the world’s best source of timely and actionable information on fisheries. The FAO is adopting the standards used in FishSource to establish unique, standardized IDs – for the first time ever – for all of the world’s major fisheries. 

What are Universal Fishery IDs?

  • A unique code assigned to every source fishery in the world (similar to a UPC/universal product code)
  • A standard developed by global fishery experts (scientists, academics, fisheries managers, etc.)
  • Backed by the United Nations FAO via the Global Record of Stocks and Fisheries (GRSF)
  • A common “language” or “translator” that ensures the seafood industry, governments, and other stakeholders are all talking about the same source fishery.
Watch this space for more exciting news and updates.
The New IDs will Transform the Seafood Supply Chain
  • Information will flow more freely. 
  • Transparency of sourcing will be strengthened.
  • Government data collection systems will be improved.
  • Small-scale fisheries will get an identity on equal footing to large industrial fisheries.

Pilot Projects

Philippines blue swimming crab fisheries and supply chain

Thai Union will be working with SFP, its traceability provider Wholechain, and the Philippines blue swimming crab supply chain to test the IDs in the BSC fishery.

“The FAO-backed fishery IDs have the power to transform the seafood industry in many ways, from enhancing transparency/traceability and environmental sustainability, to facilitating producer well-being, and improving the way we connect with our customers and consumers.”

– Blake Stok, Director of Sustainability, Thai Union North America

Thai Union logo
Namibian hake fisheries and supply chain

High Liner Foods will be working with suppliers of Namibian hake to use the fishery IDs to track fish from vessel to customer.

“Right now, everybody calls a fishery something different. … This is another step toward standardizing all the reporting for all of our customers, which will make life a lot easier and simpler for everybody.”

– Bill DiMento, Vice President, Corporate Sustainability and Government Affairs, High Liner Foods

High Liner Foods
Sample of a Fishery ID

History and Timeline

2008+ Initial fishery identification standard developed and refined in SFP’s FishSource.

2016+ Collaborations with UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the University of Washington strengthen the standard.

2017-2022 Project funded by the European Union for FAO to finalize the standard and establish the IT infrastructure to maintain a public database.

2022-2024 Project awarded financing through the UNDP Ocean Innovation Challenge to finalize database and roll out the IDs to industry and all other interested stakeholders.


Contact Braddock Spear at SFP for more information on the universal fishery IDs.