Submitted by Dr Zoë Doubleday

ARC Future Fellow

We are more reliant on seafood than ever before, consuming twice as much seafood as we did 50 years ago. However, 90% of the world’s fisheries are either overfished or have reached maximum capacity. This threat to fisheries sustainability, and the resulting shortage of seafood, can be inextricably linked to tracing the provenance of seafood. Tracing provenance empowers authorities to combat seafood fraud, which allows illegal and unsustainable fishing activities to go unchecked.

To address this global challenge Dr Zoë Doubleday and team, who leads the MARIS lab (www.marislab.org) at the Future Industries Institute, is developing technology to track the provenance of seafood.

The project brings together the fields of marine ecology and geochemistry to develop and test universal chemical markers that could be used to track the provenance (geographical origin) of marine animals, in particular seafood species. This research will exploit the natural chemical variation found in the biominerals of many marine animals, such as ear stones and shells, to investigate markers of provenance that are universal across highly divergent taxa, such as fish and cephalopods. In doing so, MARIS lab is working with multiple agencies in Australia and abroad, including their key partner the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

Zoë Doubleday holding a tiny octopus ear bone. These biomineralised structures may help researchers track the provenance of seafood through the chemical markers trapped within (image credit: Jasmin Martino)

Seafood Fraud

UniSA Video

The consumption of seafood is growing around the world and is one of the most traded commodities, exceeding sugar and alcohol. But seafood fraud is a major problem - illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. University of South Australia researcher Dr Zoë Doubleday explains how her ARC Future Fellowship will help address this crisis.