www.foodtechnology.co.nz 15 Environmental organisation WWF and its partners have introduced revolutionary 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. As part of an innovative initiative, WWF-New Zealand, WWF-Australia and WWF-Fiji have teamed up with global tech innovator ConsenSys, information and communications technology (ICT) 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,” New Zealand chief executive Livia Esterhazy says. “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 (RFID) e-tagging and scanning fish. “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,” Esterhazy says. Steps are underway to find a retailer to partner in the project and use blockchain to complete the tuna’s traceability story. 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. Sea Quest Fiji chief executive Brett ‘Blu’ Haywood says sustainable fishing ensures the longevity of the fishing business and his company wants to see sustainable fishing in the region. “This blockchain project with the three WWF offices certainly gives the industry the best opportunity going forward,” he says. The project receives technical support from TraSeable Solutions, a new technology company based in Fiji. Chief executive Ken Katafono says he is excited to be part of this project, “which I’m sure will lead the transformation of seafood supply chain traceability in the Pacific and potentially around the world.” What is Block chain? A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records (called blocks) which are linked and secured using cryptography to become an open, distributed ledger that records transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data, and is inherently resistant to modification of the data. A blockchain is typically managed by a peerto peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Blockchains are potentially suitable for the recording of events, medical records and other records management activities, such as identity management, transaction processing, documenting provenance, food traceability or voting. The first blockchain was conceptualised in 2008 to implement as a core component of bitcoin where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions. BLOCKCHAIN TO REVOLUTIONISE SEAFOOD INDUSTRY Blockchain was initially created by bitcoin-founder Satoshi Nakamoto to create a public ledger for all bitcoin transactions. In June last year, tech giant IBM was selected to build a blockchain-based international trading system for seven of the world›s biggest banks, including Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Societe Generale and Unicredit. It signalled one of the first cases of blockchain entering the mainstream for big financial institutions.
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