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Improving Transparency in Tuna Fishing Industry With Blockchain Technology

WWF Partnership Promises to "Eradicate" Illegal Fishing


The Blockchain industry is definitely here to stay and change the world’s industries. One of the latest industries to join the Blockchain bandwagon is the tuna fishing industry. In a partnership with the WWF, a US-based software and IT Company called ConsenSys is helping to eradicate illegal tuna fishing as well as slave labor in the industry. The plan is to use Blockchain to help tuna fishing and processing companies such as Quest Fiji track the tuna’s journey through the distributions chain, using Blockchain technology.

In fact the WWF is currently looking towards creating a QR code that will let customers know whether their tuna was sourced ethically and sustainably. To achieve this, the WWF is holding discussions with retailers in the tuna industry with the aim of completing the “bait to plate” cycle that will eventually lead to the creation of the QR code.

According to Australia’s WWF chief executive, the technology is expected to be ready for the tuna industry at around the end of 2018. Dermot O’Gorman further said that “the next phase is to work with the retail sector”

So far, work on the front end has already begun and they are now looking to move into the rest of the supply chain – and eventually end up on your plate.

He further added,

There’s a number of technical and logistical challenges… but were in discussions with a few retailers  … and through the course of this year I think we’ll get from bait to plate and be able to address the sustainability and human rights issue

Slave Labor in Tuna Fishing

The WWF reports that commercial fishing is the world’s most dangerous profession, as it has a high rate of injury that sometimes even leads to death, due to hostile working conditions.

In addition, a report carried out in early 2014 found that members of a South Korean fishing vessel were punished and beaten while being forced to stand on deck with no food or water, even during extreme weather conditions. Furthermore, the report indicated that some crew members also experienced rape and sexual harassment. These allegations only came to light after the ship (Oyang 70) sank leaving six men dead. This is just one of many workplace-related deaths in the industry, over the last six years.

Seeking Solutions

However, Sea Quest (a Fijian fishery) is moving to make a name for itself as a committed and ethical player, by volunteering to try out the Blockchain technology. The Sea Quest Chief Executive mentioned that the integration of Blockchain would enable transparency in the supply chain, as it will capture the journey of the fish in a digital manner.

According to Mr. O’Gorman, the technology will provide a sustainable method of establishing transparency in the tuna fishing supply chain.

Furthermore, to develop further solutions, WWF is working on investigations that will see the integration of Blockchain in other seafood industries. Tremendous support has also been shown with the two Hackathons that were held by the WWF in 2017, to seek solutions for environmental sustainability with new technologies, while also offering support for emerging startups in the sector.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Do you thing the move by the WWF will help establish transparency in the tuna fishing industry? Share your thoughts and opinions!