Fishery products are the most demanded food on the global food market. These products provide the primary source of proteins for almost three billion people worldwide. Collecting/fishing, processing and consumption of fisheries products is an ancient practice with archaeological findings from the Paleolithic period. In the Middle Ages fish processing started to develop rapidly. The oldest methods of food processing are by salting in barrels, pickling, drying and smoking. Better understanding of dangers from raw seafood consumption led to improvement of the processing and preservation methods. Processing technologies development and increased demand in the Adriatic in the middle of the last century led to construction of fish processing factories whose production was primarily based on traditional canned small pelagics, mainly sardines. At the beginning of the 1950's on the eastern coast of the Adriatic there were 27 factories of canned fish with daily capacity of 100 tonnes of raw material.
Throughout history, fishery products industry has had a significant impact on environment. Overfishing of target species, bycatch of non-commercial species, pollution due to poor management and unsustainable aquaculture negatively have affected fish stocks and degraded coastal habitats, lakes and rivers. Moreover, it has had a negative influence on socioeconomic situation in local communities.
The ecological and socioeconomic challenges faced by the fishery industry today have to be met at all levels of society. Sustainability of fishery products requires following the regulations based on scientific studies and technological innovations which include compliance with legal regulations, risk assessment and implementation of regular monitoring of all production phases, both for wild and farmed species. An essential part for ensuring fishery products sustainability is a traceability system that will provide consumers with reliable information on the origin of each individual product and raise awareness of the choice of sustainable fishery products. The ultimate goal is to preserve healthy and productive aquatic ecosystems and to ensure the availability of fishery products for the growing human population.