For years, there have been reports that consumers have unintentionally been purchasing tuna from fishing operations that use slave labor. Now, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has begun using blockchain to eliminate illegal fishing in the Pacific Islands’ tuna industry.
Fighting Illegal Fishing with Smartphones
The revolutionary blockchain technology would allow anyone with a smartphone to find out where and when the tuna was caught and by what fishing method, simply by scanning the tuna packaging. This will provide consumers the means to verify that they are eating sustainable fish.
It Will Take a Collaborative Effort
WWF-Australia, WWW-Fiji, and WWF-New Zealand have teamed up with ConsenSys, a blockchain software technology company founded by Joseph Lubin. They have also teamed up with processing company Sea Quest Fiji Ltd and TraSeable Solutions, a collaborative platform that facilitates transparency in the seafood industry by providing regulators with a way to verify end-to-end traceability of seafood products.
According to Dermot O’Gorman, CEO of WWF-Australia, “Bait-to-plate transparency using the blockchain will mean there is no place to hide for illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing or those operators who use slave labour or impose horrific conditions.
The next step is to find a retailer to partner with. The WWF says, “The appeal for a retailer is that their customers could scan a QR code with their smartphone and, for the first time, trace tuna products all the way from ‘bait to plate’ using blockchain technology that creates a ‘single version of the truth’”.
The hope is that consumers will prefer to buy tuna they know is sustainable, prompting more retailers to adopt the blockchain technology. If the whole industry were to adopt it, it would force out the illegal operators, which, in turn, will help guarantee the longevity of the fishing industry.