Traceability and product authentication in the fishing industry sector play an increasingly important role, since they provide support to fisheries management and conservation, and due to their value for consumer protection and confidence building. The rising importance is reflected by the introduction of legislation and rules covering traceability on national and international levels. While traceability through labelling is well established and supported by respective regulations, monitoring and enforcement of this rules is still hampered by the lack of efficient diagnostic tools.
Molecular methods have undoubtedly a high potential to support legislation on the level of monitoring and enforcement, but their efficiency to the research realm as well as for control authorities can only be guaranteed as long as data and tools are easily accessible and the resources are known. The joint project AnchovyID, a collaboration between IFREMER and the JRC, was implemented as a strategic tool in line with the above mentioned requirements.
AnchovyID aimed at providing molecular tools in support of traceability and anchovy product authentication. For this purpose protocols were established, using a direct sequencing method based on 212 bp to 274 bp diagnostic sequences. These sequences derive from species-specific mitochondria DNA cytochrome b, 16S rRNA and cytochrome oxydase subunit I sequences, which can efficiently be applied to unambiguously determine even closely related fish species in processed food products labelled "anchovy".