This summer, you’ll want to consider adding your smartphone to the plastic bib, nutcracker, and melted butter for your lobster dinner. If an initiative from EcoTrust Canada called ThisFish takes off, you’ll be able to scan tags on the coveted crustaceans (and a growing menu of other seafood as well) to learn more about your meal’s route from boat to table.
By tagging individual fish, shellfish, and crustaceans, ThisFish aims to connect retailers and consumers with fishermen who sustainably harvest the seas’ dwindling bounty. See a fish in the case or a lobster in the tank, look up its tag online, and get the story of a fishing family from the maritime provinces or the wild inshore fisheries of British Columbia. Or skip it and dine in ignorance—but risk purchasing seafood strip-mined from the oceans in the industrial fishing practices that are driving the last few commercially viable species to extinction.
I have a feeling that someday this technology will take off for more of food. Imagine if you sat down for a steak dinner, and while browsing the menu were able to read about the quality of life the different steers experienced. Would you pay more for a steak for the one that was lived on a green mountain slope, with access to a cold mountain stream, with hundreds of others versus the one who’d spent all of his time indoors? Some people definitely would.