Blockchain Explored By The World Wildlife Fund To Combat Illegal Fishing

Announcements, Blockchain, Innovation | January 9, 2018 By:

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is exploring blockchain technology to combat illegal fishing and slave labor in the tuna fishing industry. The technology is currently being piloted in Fiji.

The WWF is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961. It is working in the field of wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment. Currently, much of its work concentrates on the conservation of three biomes that contain most of the world’s biodiversity: oceans and coasts, forests, and freshwater ecosystems. Among other issues, it is also concerned with endangered species, sustainable production of commodities, and climate change.

The WWF has teamed with ConsenSys, communications technology partner TraSeable, and Sea Quest Fiji to track the journey of tuna fishing from start to distribution using blockchain. SeaQuest Fiji will implement a blockchain verification system that can record the voyage of tuna from seafaring vessel to grocer, beginning with tagging the catch with radio-frequency identification (RFID) e-tags. A simple scan of tuna packaging using a smartphone app will provide information on when and where the fish was caught, by which vessel, and fishing method.

WWF Australia chief executive Dermot O’Gorman said the that testing for the technology will result in a usable product by year’s end. The next phase is to work with the retail sector.

“We’ve worked on the front end and now we need to look at the rest of the supply chain, right up to the plate,” said O’Gorman. “There’s a number of technical and logistical challenges … but we’re 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 issues.”

Sea Quest Fiji CEO Brett Haywood said that sustainable fishing ensures the longevity of the fishing business, and that the 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.” CEO of TraSeable,” said Haywood.

In addition, the WWF is also eyeing blockchain technology for other seafood industry use-cases and fundraising initiatives. O’Gorman said the blockchain pilot in the tuna fishing industry will provide valuable insight on how blockchain can be applied elsewhere.

“We see blockchain technology as being able to step up the transparency in the supply chain, which previously was difficult or quite expensive to do,” said O’Gorman. “It’s a very exciting revolution that’s about to transform the industry and will deliver multiple sustainable development goals.”