How to Make a Fish Transparent

Business, product and item level transparency for a Cornish smoked haddock.

To kick off January, the Provenance team worked with premium fishmonger Jonathan Norris to tell the story and prove the journey of their Natural Smoked Haddock.

From the fisherman auctions in Cornwall to the final customer in North London. This haddock is naturally oak smoked exclusively for the London based fishmongers by Newlyn Fish Co from Cornwall. The Haddock is caught off the coast of Cornwall and carefully picked at the Newlyn auctions every morning by Newlyn Fish.

See the story from fisherman to plate by clicking here

Nelwyn Harbour, where the story of smoked haddock begins

Penzance Harbour

How does Provenance work for a fish?

Using Provenance on a mobile

Provenance helps product making businesses to share the story and demonstrate the social and environment impact of products in an accessible digital format. The story can be added to the point of sale both online and in store to bring a new dimension to commerce.

Retailer Jonathan Norris created a profile on Provenance, and used our tools to build the simple story behind his fish and invited the key members of his supply chain to contribute.

Newlyn Fish – their supplier – received the invitation and were able to create a profile themselves, sharing the business information customers care about and suggest images with captions and locations for the story – this automatically builds a supply chain map and interactive grid of people involved in creating the product.

Provenance profile

Tracking items and batches: Not just a story, but a proof of supply  

Adding contributors to the story certainly reinforces its credibility – particularly if those contributions are regularly adding content, which we make super easy with our social media data capture. However, with this very special fish we decided to help prove the chain of custody e.g. the locations and owners by issuing and tracking batches of the fish.

Tracking the batch

For this we upped the technology involved – in order to create a digital record that cannot be tampered with and can start to build reputation data independent of Provenance’s data handling. We built an identity confirmation system and timestamped item registration prototype on a new format for handling data called a blockchain – an immutable, auditable, decentralised data store.

Newlyn Fish used Provenance to create a record of the haddock acquired that day – registering it into our system. Currently this is quite a manual process, but we are actively looking to take data from existing systems. However at Newlyn pen and paper is still important, and Provenance can allow easy sharing of catch data with their suppliers.

Tracking codes were issued for batches of fish and can be upgraded after processing (cutting portions and smoking), so when the fish arrive at the London store they are sure they are getting fish from the requested batch – as all data is open to customers.


The item level data can even be accessed by the consumer – to see when said fish was bought at auction and when it travelled from Cornwall to London – giving a trustworthy indication of freshness and a story backed with facts, so the authenticity can be trusted.

The Jonathan Norris story on Natural Smoked Haddock shows how Provenance tools can work for the food industry. Providing transparency you can trust on the producers, brands and retailers behind your purchases. The story can be shared on e-commerce, blogs or emails with one line of code. The item level story can be accessed through the Provenance site with a unique ID.

Newlyn Harbour fisherman at 5am

Newlyn Harbour fisherman at 5am

Want to bring the process, people and places behind your product to the point of sale?Request a demo here.

Testing and product management by Provenance team members Afra Quintanas and Natalia Yockelle. Photographs by Rosa Koolhoven.

Next up, the story of Elvis and Kresse bags, made from upcycled materials – join our newsletter for early access to the story.