I love Red Snapper, but if the truth be known, I haven’t always put a lot of thought into where the fish came from when I was about to eat it; I probably should have been a little more careful. But now I have a new appreciation for not only where my Snapper comes from, but for the people who catch it and the process involved.
I recently purchased two whole Gulf Red Snappers from HEB, a grocery store in nearby San Angelo. I noticed that the Red Snapper in the seafood case had blue tags attached to their mouths, but I didn’t ask about them. It wasn’t until we were prepping one of the fish for dinner that I bothered to take a closer look.
I’ll admit it — at first I couldn’t figure out what exactly there would be to track on my fish. Had it been part of some catch and release program? Had I somehow broken the chain? =/
After a visit to the, I learned that the purpose of these tags is to provide the end consumer with the following information:
- Specific fish type
- Name and background of Captain and his harvesting vessel
- Fish house and city where your seafood was landed
- Harvesting location, down to a 10-square mile area in the Gulf where your fish caught
The idea behind these gill tags is to provide:
Authentication, food security and trackability are the key concepts behind our Gulf Wild™ tags. Minutes after Gulf Wild™ seafood is pulled aboard our vessels, a sequentially numbered gill tag is affixed to each individual fish by the very fishermen who catch it. Each tag has a unique number (much like a social security number, no two are alike), and each number is affiliated with only one unique fish. Boat captains and crews record the assigned numbers into our Gulf Wild™ TransparenSea™ System, which displays the specific credentials of every fish until the tag is removed or the fish is consumed.
And a page like this will pop up:
You can try it for yourself by entering my fish’s tracking number, GSA1577987.
In addition to all of the “where my fish came from” information, fish caught under the myGulfWild program also receive “supplemental testing for PAHs, heavy metals and dispersants”. This is the first time that I’ve found one of these tags in my fresh fish, and right now the program is limited to Gulf Red Snapper and Gulf Red Grouper, but ultimately “more than a dozen species of Gulf Grouper and Tilefish in the Gulf of Mexico’s IFQ catch share program will eventually be added to the product line.
I will be looking for these tags when I buy fresh whole Gulf Red Snapper from now on. =)