Sea Food Traceability on Blockchain

Seafood is the largest traded food commodity in the world. It provides sustenance to billions of people worldwide. The industry is estimated to employ around 200 million people globally, generating some $80 billion annually, and approximately 3 billion people in the world rely on wild-caught and farmed seafood as a primary source of protein.

At the same time, this industry suffers malpractices and poor management of fisheries. Overfishing, labour intensive record keeping, improper storage, mislabelling and various other frauds that compromise food safety and quality are some of the issues that plague the Seafood Industry.

It is a challenge for seafood providers to track the origin of their products efficiently while ensuring sustainability, since most seafood companies rely on paper-based record-keeping systems, which aren’t very efficient when the data collected is so vast. But, blockchain technology can be used to digitize and bring complete visibility across the entire Sea Food supply chain – “bait to plate”.

Blockchain Technology

The revolutionary technology where digital records are maintained on a distributed ledger system is termed as ‘Blockchain’. It is probably the most significant development after the ‘Internet’.

A Blockchain database cannot be tampered or altered without consent of every single participant in the distributed network. This ensures highly secure management and sharing of records, providing superior trust, transparency and traceability. 

Blockchain is already being enthusiastically adopted across private sectors and by multiple governments around the world.

Hyperledger, being a global enterprise blockchain project that offers the necessary framework, standards, guidelines and tools, to build open source blockchains and related applications for use across various industries, is a strong industry support backbone to spearhead Blockchain based transformations.

Sea Food Traceability on Blockchain

Data at every point in the supply chain can be captured (from production to sales), timestamped, validated and made available for supply chain intermediaries and businesses

-This may include data obtained by physically identifying and auditing fish stocks/shipments through RFID tags

-Devices can also be used on fishing vessels to capture details of areas fished in, time, and other details

-Once processed and packed, the shipment can further be made more traceable by attaching  QR codes that can track the rest of the journey of the shipment until final point of sale

Smart Contracts can be used to automate payments as well based on data validity; Stakeholders can even be rewarded for following best practices further improving the ecosystem. 

Benefits of Sea Food Traceability on Blockchain

Serving as a distributed ledger, a blockchain network ensures that each supply chain entity is aware of all transactions taking place across the network. Data can be stored to increase trust and visibility. It is now possible to maintain immutable, accurate, traceable records of every stage in any Sea Food supply chain- 

  • From-  point of capture, fishing practices, processing, storage, transportation
  • To- final sales/points of consumption

This higher visibility enables accurate matching of supply and demand, fair pricing, higher quality, overall reduced cost of operations and reduced pilferage.

Quicker payments and usage of smart contracts can help in lowering wastage and spoilage and this in turn improves sustainability. The problems of overfishing/exploitation can finally be addressed.

Traceability and transparency results in improved levels of trust. This enables increased exports and thus, increased consumption by consumers.

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