SeafoodCommons™ is now SeafoodEcosystem

The foundation for systemic innovation

Sustainability and regeneration of the oceans require the opening and harmonizing of silos and the development of a common technical base for synergistic solutions.

Interoperable Ecosystem

The term for systems that can talk to each other is data interoperability – the seamless, secure, and controlled exchange of data between applications. A lack of interoperability is a significant barrier to using digital tools to their full potential. 

This unarguably requires transparent and comprehensive interoperability between and among systems, platforms, applications, and devices essential to the transformation of seafood production and meaningful environmental sustainably and regeneration.

SFE aims to facilitate the development of participatory, flexible and interoperable schemas, technologies, and practices needed to support and advance trustworthy commerce and oceanwide regeneration.

Why Interoperablity is Important

The world is getting smaller and smaller as more people connect with one another over networked computerized systems. Enhanced connections speed up reaction times as people can communicate more easily, but there are also gains being made as various software and computer systems link up with one another for automated data sharing.

With so many complex systems being networked together, issues of interoperability should be on the minds of people working in all types of industries, with the seafood industry being no exception. Interoperability refers to the basic ability of computerized systems to connect and communicate with one another readily, even if they were developed by widely different manufacturers in different industries. Being able to exchange information between applications, databases, and other computer systems is crucial for the modern economy.

Developing Global Standards

Global Dialog for Seafood Tractability

Seafood Commons is a participant in the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST) through the World Ocean Observatory. GDST is an international, business-to-business platform established to advance a unified framework for interoperable seafood traceability practices, bringing together a broad spectrum of stakeholders from across different parts of the supply chain, as well as relevant civil society experts from diverse regions. Industry-led efforts to define a common set of "key data elements" (KDEs) have already begun, however, until these discussions are broadened and universalized, the absence of a common approach to seafood KDEs will remain a serious obstacle to efficiency, interoperability, and adequately harmonised regulations.

Through the Global Dialogue, the industry can come together to agree on a universal set of basic KDEs. A global convergence around standardised seafood KDEs, along with parameters for their technical content and identification of their authoritative sources, will help reduce costs, increase access to new suppliers or customers, and simplify verification processes.

GS1 Supply Chain Standards

GS1 Standards are the shared language businesses use to sell, grow, remain competitive, and even reinvent themselves. They allow you to easily identify, manage, and share product data with your trading partners, supply chains, and customers to streamline operations, cut costs, and deliver richer, more satisfying customer experiences.

GS1 Standards help establish the foundation for clearer communication in an increasingly complex foodservice supply chain. Industry-wide adoption of standards will provide a common language to help trading partners share information not only with each other, but with their consumers as well.

GS1 Standards are like the DNA of items and products moving through their value chain. By uniquely identifying each, it’s possible to link items and products with relevant information.

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

MSC Standard reviews are consistent with best practice codes and guidelines provided by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), ISEAL and the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI). These reviews engage academics, fellow NGOs, governments, and industry.

The MSC develops the MSC Fisheries, Seaweed and Chain of Custody Standards over time. We also regularly develop the process that certifiers use to assess fisheries and supply chain companies against our Standards.

Every five years, The Fisheries Standard Review (FSR) considers issues raised by stakeholders and data from our own monitoring and evaluation team. The aim of this review is to make sure scientific developments and fisheries management best practice are reflected in MSC certified fisheries. This review might also look at what we call the scope of the Fisheries Standard: what types of fishing activity can be assessed to the Standard.

Seafood Watch

Seafood Watch standards for aquaculture, fisheries, and salmonid-specific fisheries set the environmental sustainability bar for seafood. They undergo regular review to ensure the latest science and best management practices are incorporated into our Seafood Watch assessments.

Seafood Watch ratings and eco-certifications cover less than half of the total global production of seafood. To supplement our recommendations, we are working within the Global Seafood Ratings Alliance, a coalition of seafood rating organizations from around the world, to provide additional information on sustainable seafood to consumers and business partners.

Education and Certifications

Un-numbered institutions, educational and professional, offer courses, training and certifications that advance a regenerative industry.  But to date, there is no universal coordination or collaboration spaces for education or certification communities.  Seafood Commons offers a broad ecosystem to channel educational development into meaningful applications with seafood industry professionals, building a "community of practice" across institutions. 

The industry is burdened with an ever growing explosion of quality certifications.  Thankfully, there are other like minded organizations and coalitions consolidating the useful certifications and distinguishing them from redundant or meaningless certifications.  Global Seafood Ratings Alliance is one such coalition of like minded organizations that are bringing collaboration to the certification space.  

Food Safety Standards

"Governments and food businesses strive to improve food safety and security. However, the default behaviour is to operate in self interested information silos. This prevents effective communication and transparency in food safety incidents and food recalls. This also inhibits information flow to consumers and the wider food chain.

History has proven that this task cannot be solved by governments or individual businesses alone. As an industry wide issue, it can only be solved by working together and innovating to reduce risks, costs and increase opportunity" - Global Food Blockchain Initiative (GFBI)

Semantic Web and GraphQL

"Semantic Web" is sometimes used as a synonym for "Web 3.0", though the definition of each term varies. Web 3.0 has started to emerge as a movement away from the centralization of services like search, social media and chat applications that are dependent on a single organization to function. 

GraphQL is emerging as the foundation layer for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Common Standards and IoT


"When you have common interfaces and common protocols, everyone can innovate and interoperate. Companies can build their businesses, consumers can expand their choices, technology moves forward faster, and users get more benefit..." "The world is getting smaller on a daily basis. Hardware, software, and content move independent of, and irrespective of, international boundaries. As that increasingly happens, the need to have commonality and interoperability grows. We need standards so that the movie made in China or India plays in the equipment delivered in the United States, or the Website in the United States plays on the computer in China.”

The Modern Paradigm for Standards is shaped by adherence to the following five principles:

1. Cooperation

Respectful cooperation between standards organizations, whereby each respects the autonomy, integrity, processes, and intellectual property rules of the others.

2. Adherence to Principles
  • Due process 
  • Broad consensus
  • Transparency
  • Balance
  • Openness
3. Collective Empowerment

Commitment by affirming standards organizations and their participants to collective empowerment by striving for standards.

4. Availability

Standards specifications are made accessible to all for implementation and deployment. Affirming standards organizations have defined procedures to develop specifications that can be implemented under fair terms. Given market diversity, fair terms may vary from royalty-free to fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND).

5. Voluntary Adoption

Standards are voluntarily adopted and success is determined by the market.

Technology Impact

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been called the next Industrial Revolution — it will impact the way all businesses, governments, and consumers interact with the physical world. The global IoT market will grow from $157B in 2016 to $457B by 2020, attaining a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 28.5%. Emerging technologies based on blockchain and distributed ledger hold the promise for transformative impact over the next few years.

Global Fishing Watch

Global Fishing Watch is the product of a technology partnership between SkyTruth, Oceana, and Google, designed to enable anyone to see and understand apparent fishing effort worldwide. This, in turn, will help reduce overfishing and illegal fishing and help restore the ocean to sustainability and abundance. Contrary to common belief, no one is actually taking high resolution, fine-scale images of the entire world at all times. So we had to come up with a new method of looking at fishing behavior far over the horizon.

ID2020 Alliance

The ID2020 Alliance is a global partnership working to address the lack of recognized identity by more than a billion people around the world, in accordance with Target 16.9 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Without an identity, individuals are often invisible—unable to vote, access healthcare, open a bank account, or receive an education—and bear higher risk for trafficking.

Blockchain for Social Impact

The New America Future of Property Rights initiative engages with policy makers, technologists, academics, civil society, and jurisdictions, as well as the property rights formalization community of practice. Property rights formalization is a powerful tool for creating wealth, opportunity, and security. A number of recent technology developments and advancements greatly reduce the time, cost, and complexity of property rights formalization. Our role is to highlight these opportunities, expand the conversation and facilitate instances of property rights formalization improving lives.