Blockchain Project Targets Seafood Industry
Environmental organization WWF and its partners have introduced blockchain technology to the Pacific Islands’ tuna industry, the first of its kind for this region, to help stamp out illegal fishing and human rights abuses.
Tracking fish from vessel to the supermarket, the Blockchain Supply Chain Traceability Project is using digital technology in the fresh and frozen tuna sectors of the Western and Central Pacific region to strengthen supply chain management. Blockchain is a continuously expanding list of electronic records, called blocks, providing a way to record and transfer data that is transparent, traceable, easily auditable and resistant to tampering or outages. This verifiable, digital record of information is accessible to everyone and includes details of where and when fish are caught and processed.
For the project, WWF-New Zealand, WWF-Australia and WWF-Fiji have teamed up with global blockchain venture studio ConsenSys, ICT company TraSeable and tuna fishing and processing company Sea Quest Fiji to deliver the project in Fiji.
WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy says, “For years, there have been disturbing reports that consumers may have unknowingly bought tuna from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and, even worse, from operators who use slave labor.
“Through blockchain technology, soon a simple scan of tuna packaging using a smartphone app will tell the story of a tuna fish – where and when the fish was caught, by which vessel and fishing method. Consumers will have certainty that they’re buying legally-caught, sustainable tuna with no slave labor or oppressive conditions involved. Blockchain technology is a digital, tamper-proof record of information that is accessible to everyone.”
The buying and selling of Pacific tuna is currently either tracked by paper records, or not at all. Now fishermen can register their catch on the blockchain through radio-frequency identification (RFID) e-tagging and scanning fish.
Now steps are underway to find a retailer to partner in the project to complete the tuna’s traceability story.
Image: Brett “Blu” Heywood, SeaQuest Fiji CEO, Dermot O'Gorman WWF-Australia CEO and Ken Katafono, TraSeable Solutions CEO next to a yellowfin tuna about to be tagged with QR code. Fiji waters, December 2017.