BlueTrace Blog

3 min read

Seed Funding Announcement

By Alessandra Bosco on Feb 16, 2023 9:00:00 AM


Alessandra Bosco
(202) 821-7245

BlueTrace raises $4 million to modernize the seafood industry

New funding will enable the industry pioneer to modernize seafood operations from tideline to table.

Castine, ME, February 16, 2023 - BlueTrace, the easiest and most powerful traceability solution for seafood harvesters, growers, distributors, processors, and dealers, today announced $3.2 million in Seed funding, bringing the company’s fundraising total to $4.1 million. The round was led by York IE, Maine Venture Fund, and CEI Ventures, with participation from various angel investors, including SeaAhead

“Sustainable seafood is great for our communities, our planet, and our health,” said Chip Terry, CEO. “Our mission is to keep the seafood supply chain safe, efficient, and compliant by digitizing key transactions to make seamless traceability possible. We have a long list of desired features from our clients — this new funding will help us deliver them.”

Joe Raczka, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at York IE, has joined BlueTrace’s board of directors. Raczka will collaborate with existing board members Abigail Carroll, an oyster farmer turned investor and podcaster, and Dave Ford, a tech entrepreneur and angel investor.

“BlueTrace is bringing a unique digital solution to a traditionally non-digital, tech-laggard industry,” Raczka said. “Chip and the rest of the talented team have proven their product market fit and will continue improving the seafood landscape.”

After identifying a need to manage and track harvests in the shellfish market more effectively, Terry and his partners founded BlueTrace, formerly known as Oyster Tracker, in 2018. After initial traction with shellfish harvesters and distributors, BlueTrace has begun expanding its digital platform to support the broader seafood landscape. 

Seafood organizations of any size can use BlueTrace’s cloud-based solutions from their smartphones to create logs (harvest, HACCP, receiving, shipping, cooling, etc.) and tag their products. The system empowers frontline employees to easily track and trace shipments. A regulatory rules engine increases compliance while reducing redundant paperwork.  

In November, the FDA announced the final food traceability rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act, which will begin to take effect in 2023. BlueTrace already enables seafood businesses to comply with these increasingly stringent requirements.

“BlueTrace is a game-changer that’s meeting the unique needs of the seafood industry,” said Joe Lasprogata, Vice President, New Product Development at Samuels Seafood. “Our company moves millions of pounds of seafood each year, which obviously means a lot of moving parts. BlueTrace’s platform helps us organize our shipments and give us confidence that we’re staying compliant. ”

BlueTrace announced 121% growth in 2022, expanding its customer base from 150 clients to over 350. With clients in all but two coastal U.S. states and most Canadian provinces, BlueTrace has become the go-to solution for seafood tagging and traceability. 

The company has won two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which oversees fishery regulations.

Visit or email to learn more and request a quote.

About BlueTrace 
BlueTrace offers the easiest and most powerful traceability platform for seafood growers, wholesalers, distributors, and dealers. Its mobile solutions, designed specifically for the seafood industry, enable users to reduce redundant data entry and errors, streamline operations, and trace their products from tideline to table. Learn more at

Media Contact
Alessandra Bosco
(202) 821-7245

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2 min read

What If? Digital Receiving and Labeling

By Chip Terry on Feb 14, 2023 10:46:50 AM

The receiving dock at seafood companies can be chaos.  IMG_0935

We recently watched a harried guy with a clipboard direct six forklifts unloading 14 tractor trailers' worth of seafood one morning. Salmon from Norway, squid from California, tuna from Costa Rica, lobster from Maine, mussels from Canada, oysters from the Chesapeake. The list went on and on.  

All of it had different paperwork. Some carried MSC certification. Others had SIMP paperwork. Some had temperature gauges. Some had GS1 bar codes — most didn't. Measurements varied from counts, to weights, volumes or just a count of boxes.  

We watched this very talented and experienced guy make errors — a five instead of a nine, the wrong date (I would have made many more errors). Most product came in with bills of lading, invoices, and wax boxes with handwritten and/or very inconsistent labels.  


The paperwork then all went into a back room where inventory was updated, orders were filled, checks were written, and hopefully everything lined up. The time spent, the error rates, and the slow inventory churn cause trouble for everyone.

We have been working on a better way with our clients: digital labels and digital receiving

Digital Receiving
Our clients now receive receive-favoriteeverything on their phones and take pictures as needed, thus reducing errors and speeding up all the back-office challenges. We can also integrate this data with most accounting systems. It's super easy to use — a client needs almost no training. Accuracy improves dramatically, and the time spent on redundant data entry drops.

Digital Labeling 
Our most successful clients also ask their partners to use our tags or labels. That way, when the sender prints a tag or label, the receiver gets an Advance Shipping Notification. They can process all the paperwork ahead of time, and when the product arrives, just scan the QR code and confirm receipt.  Now everything has a clean label and access to all the data points a business needs. No need to talk GS1, GDST, EDI. or any of the other acronym soups.  Just print a label and stick it on the box (or even directly on a fish).  

Bottom line: Digital receiving and digital labeling reduce errors, improve throughput, and make your business manageable.  



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2 min read

FDA Final Rule for Food Traceability

By Chip Terry on Nov 15, 2022 4:19:12 PM

The FDA today announced the final rule for Food Traceability that was required by the Food Safety Modernization Act law.  We will explore this is future blog posts, but let's start with the high level: 

Food Safety First: In the words of the FDA, this rule is "designed to facilitate faster identification and rapid removal of potentially contaminated food from the market, resulting in fewer foodborne illnesses and/or deaths" It has nothing to do with fraud, sustainability, fisheries management or any of the other reasons folks implement traceability systems. 

Most fresh foods are covered, including:  fresh cut fruits and vegetables, shell eggs, and nut butters, as well as certain fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, ready-to-eat deli salads, cheeses, and seafood products.  

In the seafood world, the exemptions include: Scallop Abductor muscle, and Catfish.

In a change from the original law is: Raw bivalve molluscan shellfish that are covered by the requirements of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program...are exempt from the requirements of the rule.  A good thing since the rules for shellfish are already tighter than this new rule.  

The rule is all about record keeping: In particular most firms are required to supply information to the FDA in a "sortable spreadsheet" within 24 hours of request. The records must cover: Critical Tracking Events (CTEs) and required Key Data Elements (KDEs).

Traceability Lot Code: These records must be linked with a Traceability Lot Code (TLC) that does not change unless the product is transformed. TLCs can only be assigned by either the First Land Based Receiver or a Processor who is Transforming the product.  

You Have time: The rule will take 3 years to be fully implemented.  In other words, take a breadth, explore the rule and then think about what needs to change.

Here is a video from the FDA using an example of a Tuna.





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BlueTrace: How Did We Get Here?

By Chip Terry on Oct 17, 2022 1:16:06 PM

Many thanks to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute for putting together an amazing 4 minute video introducing BlueTrace.    Enjoy.


HubSpot Video


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1 min read

Inventory Labels?

By Chip Terry on Sep 12, 2022 10:13:41 AM

Our latest release introduced inventory labels. Why?  

Clients were telling us about the challenges of managing that fast-moving cold room. What is there? What should I pick? They confront challenges like packers taking the newest product (what's on top) rather than the oldest product with the shortest lifespan.

An inventory label is designed to print out when you receive product. It has the harvest date, product name, and quantity front and center. Folks add it to the top of a bin, a clipboard, a whiteboard, or even in a wet storage bin so everyone knows what that product is. That QR code links to all the information about the product and can be used to add product to orders. 

The takeaway: Saving time and reducing errors has a huge impact on your bottom line.  IMG_0512

Inventory Labels work well on a vat or in a tote :IMG_0815IMG_6806


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3 min read

Greenhouse Gas Emissions & Seafood

By Chip Terry on Jun 15, 2022 7:51:43 PM

BlueTrace was asked recently about greenhouse gas emissions and seafood. Our initial reaction was that there wasn't much of a story, but we did some research — and it turns out that the industry can have a positive impact on C02 emissions. Here's the overview:
  1. Reduced Emissions. Both wild-caught seafood and aquaculture produce less CO2 than most other traditional sources of protein (Oceana 2021, Nature 2021). For every gram of protein we consume from wild-caught fisheries instead of beef, we are reducing the CO2 impact by 82% (89% for aquaculture). Comparing to beef yields the most dramatic difference, but even moving from chicken to aquaculture would reduce CO2 per gram by almost 50%. Aquaculture produces over 50% of the seafood we consume today.

    Although going vegan would be the best option in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, convincing folks to switch out a steak for oysters and salmon is a lot more realistic.

  2. Substituting Seafood. Recent research also indicates that beyond the CO2 impact, more seafood would also be critical for feeding a growing population a healthy diet. According to the journal Nature:

    "Globally, we find that a high-production scenario will decrease [seafood] prices by 26% and increase their consumption, thereby reducing the consumption of red and processed meats that can lead to diet-related non-communicable diseases while also preventing approximately 166 million cases of inadequate micronutrient intake. 

    In other words, more seafood represents a win for the planet and for the people most at risk from malnutrition. Of course, not all seafood is equal, so traceability will matter — and is indeed critical to making this transition successful (Monterey Bay Seafood Watch).

  3. Less Waste. What about waste? An estimated 39% (USDA) to 50% (Gunders, 2012) of seafood is wasted (harvested but not consumed). That loss is massive, equating to enough protein to feed 12.4 million women for a year (or 10.1 million men).  Much of the waste is outside our purview (bycatch on fishing boats or disposed of by restaurants/consumers). But a significant portion occurs within the distribution system. Seafood is more prone to wastage than meat since:

    "Fish spoil quickly due to digestive enzymes, microbial spoilage, and oxidation, which change the odor, flavor and texture of fish (Ghaly et al., 2010); (iii) the different microbial and chemical food safety risks from seafood than from other meats, including histamine or scombroid food poisoning due to spoilage; (iv) strong odors that are not always associated with food safety risks, but may raise safety and quality concerns among retailers, food service providers and consumers."

    Even a 10% reduction in wastage would deliver major benefits (Global Environmental Change, Sierra Club).
According to our customers, BlueTrace's tracking technology reduces loss and improves the safety of seafood. Even something as simple as giving folks alerts about the date seafood was harvested can have a huge impact.  image (5)

Wild seafood has a lower carbon footprint than red meat, cheese, and chicken, according to latest data, Oceana: 2021

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2 min read

Streamlining the Receiving Dock

By Chip Terry on Jun 6, 2022 10:55:00 AM

Receiving docks are chaotic—and incredibly important. Receiving is a regulated "Critical Tracking Event" in which the buyer is supposed to transcribe the "Key Data Elements" and ensure that the product is what they ordered and that the cold chain has been maintained. Having observed many receiving docks, we understand that the time wasted, the errors introduced, and the money lost can be significant.

There are obvious ways to improve this process, some of which the best companies have implemented. In particular, they get information about a shipment before it arrives and have the product properly labeled with a link to the digital record so receiving involves only scanning—not trying to read someone's handwriting.

Historically, this sort of tool has been available only to the largest companies. But BlueTrace has developed a system accessible to the vast majority of the market. 

Our platform is inexpensive and works with existing CRM/ERM/WMS systems. We can get a company up and running in less than an hour.

Here's how it works:

  1. Suppliers Print & Affix Label: Your suppliers download the BlueTrace app, enter in information about the shipment, and print a label that includes a QR code. It takes less than a minute and minimal training.  The cost is ~$750 for the printer.  Our existing Harvest Tagging clients can already do this.

    Samuels Print & Label DA220
    There is no subscription fee for your suppliers, and labels are designed to stick to wet wax boxes.

  2. Receiver Gets Shipping Notification: When the supplier prints out a tag, we send the buyer Advanced Shipping Notifications with all the key information. This communication can occur in-app, or if needed, we can pass the information into an existing system (NetYield, Seasoft, Innova, etc.). If the buyer is not our client, they get an email with all the information.

    Image from iOS (122)

  3. Buyer Scans Tag: At the receiving dock, the label is scanned using an existing iPhone or iPad (no new hardware needed). The buyer confirms the product is in good shape and records the temperature. The buyer has thus  created a HACCP log and a digital traceability chain. The supplier receives automatic notification that the product arrived—saving time, reducing errors, and improving your margins.

Image from iOS (121)


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1 min read

Temperature Tracking & Vibrio Risk Management with BlueTrace

By Call Nichols on Jun 3, 2022 10:40:47 AM

In many shellfish-producing states, May 1 marks the beginning of Vibrio season. For those who don’t know, Vibrio is the most common food-borne illness caused by raw oyster (and other foods). The key management strategy: Keep it cold.  

Vibrio rules are some of the most dynamic pieces of shellfish regulation, as environmental conditions change continuously and our collective understanding of the risks and effective treatments evolves along with them.

This is a good time to revisit one of the most useful features we've built into both our Harvester Tagging and Distributor apps, RETEMPING. On the log screen, you can tap into any lot and hit the "Temp" button:


Log Detail_Call

Add a temperature and confirm the date and time, both of which are pre-filled:

Add Retemp

You can also attach an employee to this record for accountability and HACCP compliance, so make sure you have employees loaded into your Settings. Hit Done in the upper right and this temperature record is saved. It will now show up in the app (by re-opening the Temp page) and in your Harvest or HACCP Log when you export. 

Harvest Log_Call(1)

Of course, this is in addition to fields for Harvest, Cooling, and Receiving temperatures on the main tagging screen, which satisfy most temperature recording requirements.

If you have any questions or feel that this capability doesn't completely satisfy your particular requirement, please let us know.

Happy harvesting!


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2 min read

Best Practices for Protecting North American Oysters from OsHV-1

By Call Nichols on May 10, 2022 6:56:01 PM

With the resumption of shellfish trade with the EU, the U.S. oyster industry is rightfully concerned about the introduction of OsHV-1 into our waters. Although this virus does not affect humans, it has been linked to mass oyster mortalities all across the world. Not every imported oyster is carrying the virus, but they all must be treated as such since we can’t know which ones are carriers, and the stakes are just too high.

The threat is very real, but it’s manageable with knowledge and vigilance. Best practices in general should be that if you aren't sure where your oysters came from, keep them and their shells out of the water. Domestic pathogens can be circulated in similar ways, so it’s better to err on the side of caution.

The only way an issue could arise is if tainted oysters or their shells make it into (or near) the water. Here are some realistic scenarios that must be avoided:

  • After enjoying the oysters, somebody tosses the shells into the water.
  • Somebody buys oysters and hangs them off their dock to "refresh" them.
  • A dealer holds oysters in a wet storage or depuration system that drains into the water.
  • Oysters get mixed up and get put out on a beach.


Each of these situations is avoidable, but the industry and the public need to be aware of the threat. Shellfish from New Zealand and South Korea should be treated similarly, as they may also carry the virus. 

Bottom line: If you don't know where the oysters came from, keep them (and their shells) out of the water!

Shellfish harvesters and dealers, please see and distribute this letter penned on behalf of the major regional associations. The East Coast Shellfish Growers Association has also compiled useful resources for industry and the public at In addition, the ECSGA is also offering FREE informational tags to anyone dealing in imported oysters. These are an important tool in minimizing the risk of tainted oysters affecting our local stocks and industries. If you would like a stack of the tags, please reach out to your BlueTrace rep, and we'll make sure you're flush.

The OsHV-1 threat makes yet another case for a robust traceability system. Knowing where imported product ends up is critical for consumer awareness and proper handling practices. And in the unlikely event of an introduction, we will definitely want to know where the oysters went in order to identify and isolate the danger as soon as possible.

Keep on shuckin'!

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2 min read

Anatomy of an Oyster Recall

By Chip Terry on Apr 11, 2022 3:51:20 PM

Oysters are a safe food, and very few people get sick from eating them. When something bad does happen, though, news stories get out of control, and the whole industry is harmed. A recent oyster recall in British Columbia illustrates the challenges. Here is what we know so far (this is an ongoing story, so more details will likely emerge):

1) On Sunday, March 20, 2022, the Canadian Government found norovirus in oysters from BC and issued the first of what became a series of six overlapping recalls on oysters. The majority of the product was harvested between March 7 and March 14.    

2) Many of the oysters were shipped well beyond BC, including to distributors in Washington state and California. Washington issued a health advisory for specific BC oysters on Friday, April 1 — 13 days after the first BC recall notice. California issued a recall on Sunday, April 3 — 16 days after the first BC recall.  34 people in California got sick from the BC oysters by the time of the advisory in CA.

3) By April 1, media stories begin to appear in Washington, Florida, Massachusetts, California, New York, and elsewhere about people getting sick.

4) Meanwhile, we heard from our distributor clients who were working hard to track these oysters and get them out of the system. One client even had to call its trucks in NYC to stop delivery of these specific oysters.

5) Food Safety News (written by a leading food safety attorney) reports on Thursday April 7th that over 103 people in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington are confirmed sick from this particular batch of oysters.  

6) Meanwhile back in BC, major farms are shut down (probably for 2+ months) and are suffering huge financial losses.  While the CFIA reports 328 illnesses from this norovirus outbreak across Canada, including in: British Columbia (293), Alberta (3), Saskatchewan (1), Manitoba (15) and Ontario (16).

My takeaways:

1) Good people worked really hard to make sure this didn't get worse. Distributors and regulators spent hundreds of hours trying to get this product out of the system.  So far, there are no deaths reported--a huge win. 

2) The recalls were too manual and slow--there should have been a more automated system for making sure different jurisdictions acted more quickly. 

3) The liability risk is probably large. I'm no lawyer, but clearly everyone is concerned about lawsuits.  

4) The entire industry is the loser:  We have heard anecdotal stories of folks avoiding all oysters after coming across the stories circulating.  

There are a lot of ways this process could be improved, including better/faster communications and a true digital traceability chain. The regulators in the U.S. should have been able to issue faster recalls/advisories. Thirteen days was too long.

A farmer or distributor with a recall should be able to notify all their buyers with a couple of keystrokes. And restaurants should be able to scan a QR code and confirm there are no recalls prior to serving that product.  

Nothing will ever be foolproof, but we can do better, and there is a clear path to improvement. 

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