WWF Uses a Blockchain to Eradicate Illegal Fishing and Slavery in the Tuna Industry

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The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has started using blockchain technology to stamp out illegal fishing in the tuna industry, making it the first of its kind.

According to an announcement from the organisation the transparency of the distributed ledger will prevent consumers from purchasing tuna from illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the Pacific Islands. Additionally, it will help to eradicate human rights abuses.

This is just another example of how the blockchain is being widely applied to different industries and not just the financial sector.

As part of the innovative initiative, WWF-Australia, WWF-Fiji, and WWF-New Zealand have teamed up with global tech innovator ConsenSys, information and communications technology implementer TraSeable, and tuna fishing and processing company Sea Quest Fiji Ltd. to deliver the project.

Sea Quest Fiji are being assisted by the companies to include the blockchain in order to track its tuna from the vessel to the processing facility to the distributor.

Simply by scanning a QR code on a tuna package via a smartphone app consumers will be able to see where and when the fish was caught, and by which fishing vessel and method.

Dermot O’Gorman, WWF-Australia CEO, said:

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. Ridding the industry of these sorts of unsustainable practices will help protect fishers from human rights abuses and save the environment. This blockchain pilot is part of WWF’s broader innovation initiative on how technology can help save the planet.

In the past steps have been taken to make fish catches traceable; however, relying on paper or web-based technologies to provide traceability have often failed. According to WWF, it’s believed that consumers will favour this method of transparency through the blockchain as it gets adopted by the entire tuna industry, which in turn will help to wipe out illegal operators who also use slave labour.

Brett ‘Blu” Haywood, Sea Quest Fiji CEO, added:

Sustainable fishing ensures the longevity of the fishing business, and Sea Quest 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.

The WWF and Sea Quest are now seeking a retailer to partner in the project, enabling the completion of the tuna’s traceability story.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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