“Most people don’t think data management is sexy,” says Jared Auerbach, owner of Red’s Best, a seafood distributor in Boston. Most don’t associate it with fishing, either. But Mr. Auerbach and a few other seafood entrepreneurs are using technology to lift the curtain on the murky details surrounding where and how fish are caught in American waters.

Beyond Maine lobster, Maryland crabs and Gulf shrimp, fish has been largely ignored by foodies obsessing over the provenance of their meals, even though seafood travels a complex path. Until recently, diners weren’t asking many questions about where it came from, which meant restaurants and retailers didn’t feel a need to provide the information.

Much of what’s sold has been seen as “just a packaged, nondescript fish fillet with no skin,” says Beth Lowell, who works in the seafood-fraud prevention department at Oceana, an international ocean conservation advocacy group. “Seafood has been behind the curve on both traceability and transparency.”

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