Blockchain technology enables sustainable fishing

WWF (World Wildlife Fund) protects marine life from excessive, unregulated and illegal fishing. These forms of fishing are a major problem for fishing industry and life in the oceans worldwide. The excessive fishing causes empty oceans and fish species are threatened with extinction. In addition, illegal fishing often violates human rights. There are many problems in the industry.

MSC-label

The MSC-label that is given to regulated and sustainable caught fish seemed to be a solution for proving the origin of fish and hence its durability. However, this label proves vulnerable to counterfeiting and a MSC-label is proved to be easy to get. MSC does that because 73% of their revenue from the sale of the quality mark. Blockchain technology seems to be a better solution to the problems in the fishing industry. Blockchain is not susceptible to trickery and it is completely transparent. Another positive incident is that the costly documentation process that is now in operation will no longer be necessary. All relevant data is kept electronically and as well as free of charge on a blockchain.

Blockchain Solution

Blockchain technology has the potential to introduce smart and sustainable fishing as a standard and thus to ensure marine life. The technology makes this possible by making the entire process of catching a fish up to the sale of that same fish to the consumer traceable. The supply chain is transparent and regulated in one fell swoop. The fish gets an RFID tag that follows the fish and automatically registers information in a number of places in the supply chain: On the boat itself, in the port and in the processing plant. In the processing plant the fish is often divided into different products, since a QR code is added to the products. From that point the product can be followed through the transport network, up to the consumer. When purchasing a visproduct, consumers can then scan the attached QR code with an app and see the whole story of the fish. The story gives an overview which clearly states where the fish comes from and which path it has traveled. The app also tells a number of fish specifications such as length and weight. The consumer even gets the story of the ship and the crew with which the fish is caught. This ensures that the fish are caught, processed and transported in a responsible and regulated manner.

Blockchain Consortium

To get this project off the ground a consortium of different parties has been formed. WWF-New Zealand,WWF-Australia and WWF-Fiji as initiator and Sea Quest Fiji Ltd as a fishing party. Together they control the chain from catch to the shelf. Forming a consortium is an essential part of getting the chain transparent.

Potential

For the time being, blockchain is only used for tuna fishing in Western and central Pacific regions, but it has the potential to be used on a much larger scale to catch fish other than tuna and other species. Thanks to the ‘quality label’ that blockchain gives to officially authorised fishing, a large part of illegal fishing is expected to be expelled from the market when blockchain will be introduced on a large scale in the fishing industry.

Although blockchain can solve a large part of the problems in the fishing industry, it is not an ultimate final solution, in the process human action continues to play a role. Blockchain technology is as reliable as the people who handle it, so it is important to answer the following questions: How should the data be managed? Who can use the data? Who should be able to join and who analyzes it? These questions must first be worked out before blockchain is widely accepted and applied in fishing industry and logistics.

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At Xurux we are, like the WWF, also engaged in the development of blockchain applications that guarantee the sustainability of our planet. Project Oasebos is a good example of a blockchain solution that guarantees durability, namely the preservation of the rain forest in Costa Rica.

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During our blockchain courses we will take on logistical applications of blockchain. We offer a one day training for a good basic knowledge, but also a three days training in which you go deep into the matter.