Hook to plate: how blockchain tech could turn the tide for sustainable fishing
In recent weeks, a new $50m (£35m) hybrid vessel set sail from Mauritius and headed out into the Southern Ocean where the crew will spend three months longline fishing for the Patagonian toothfish. By the time the fish are brought back, processed and sent to customers, consumers will know where and when that specific fish was caught, which boat landed it, who processed it and which certifications have been met. The technology enabling this is blockchain.
“From the day it’s landed to when it ends up on someone’s plate, blockchain gives toothfish traceability right from the start,” says Steve Paku, captain of the Cape Arkona. “People can just scan the barcode and the whole story is right there in front of them.”
Blockchain is just one way that fisheries are trying to ensure better traceability from hook to plate but it is garnering a lot of interest. Blockchain cannot be tampered with and the data can be accessed by everyone along the supply chain, from certification schemes to the final consumer. Because it is digital, decentralized and updated in real time, a blockchain tag contains valuable information that a physical label never could. In combination with DNA testing to prove the specific species of fish, blockchain could play a role in reducing fraud in the seafood industry.