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Blockchain technology introduced to Pacific tuna industry

Environmental organisation 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 uses digital technology in the fresh and frozen tuna sectors of the Western and Central Pacific region to strengthen supply chain management.

As part of the initiative, WWF-New Zealand, WWF-Australia, and WWF-Fiji have teamed up with global tech innovator ConsenSys, information and communications technology implementer TraSeable, and tuna fishing and processing company Sea Quest Fiji to deliver the project in Fiji.

“We are so excited that WWF-New Zealand is a Blockchain project partner,” said WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy. “This innovative project has the potential to really improve people’s lives and protect the environment though smart, sustainable fisheries.”

“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 labour.

“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. 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 e-tagging and scanning fish.

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

Image: WWF

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