New Blockchain Project has potential to revolutionise seafood industry

WWF-New Zealand is a Blockchain Project partner part of an initiative that has the potential to really improve people’s lives and protect the environment though smart, sustainable fisheries.

This revolutionary blockchain technology, the first of its kind for the Pacific region, is set to help stamp out illegal fishing and human rights abuses in the Pacific Islands’ tuna industry

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.

WWF-New Zealand, WWF-Australia, and WWF-Fiji have teamed up with global blockchain venture studio ConsenSys, information and communications technology (ICT) implementer TraSeable, and tuna fishing and processing company Sea Quest Fiji Ltd. to deliver the project in Fiji.

Why is this important?

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing remains a persistent problem in the Pacific region and blockchain technology can help lift the veil of secrecy that hides this activity. The buying and selling of Pacific tuna is currently either tracked by paper records, or not at all. 

For years, there have been disturbing reports that consumers may have unknowingly bought tuna from IUU fishing and from operators who use slave labour. 

Now consumers are increasingly calling for fully-traceable seafood that does not come from illegal fisheries or those that engage in human rights abuses. Wholesale and retail seafood buyers are asking for improvements in transparency and traceability to reduce the risk of their brands being associated with dubious and illegal activities.

The solution

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 labour or oppressive conditions involved. 

A combination of radio-frequency identification (RFID) and QR codes will be used to capture information throughout the supply chain.  A RFID tag will be affixed when the fish comes on board the vessel, which will follow the fish and register automatically at various devices positioned on the vessel, at the dock, and in the processing facility.  Once the product enters the processing facility and is partitioned out into various products, it will receive a QR code (or potentially in the future an near field communication (NFC) device) that will track the product to its ultimate fate all the way past the retailer.

This is about helping people understand exactly where their food comes from – telling the story about the fish, the fisherman, the families, the crew – the path from ocean to plate.

What is blockchain?

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. 

What's next?

ConsenSys, one of the leaders in blockchain development, is working with WWF and Sea Quest to test and implement the Viant blockchain traceability tool for the Pacific tuna industry.

Now steps are underway to find a retailer to partner in the project and use blockchain to complete the tuna’s traceability story.

For more information click here.

- Viant Bait to Plate @ Ethereal - from Viant on Vimeo.