Creating a sustainable blue economy built by blockchain
16 October 2019
The worldwide blue economy sector is valued at around $3US trillion per year while three billion people rely on both wild-caught and farmed seafood as their primary source of protein.
This large-scale reliance on the blue economy has had a devastating impact on the world’s oceans and sea life. Around 57% of the world’s fish supply is at risk of extinction. This in addition to the 27 million tonnes of marine life that is discarded each year, most of which has been captured in prohibited waters. In addition to the mass public outpouring of anger, the reaction to this flagrant abuse of our marine ecosystems has led to a sharp rise in demand for action. Namely, a traceable, transparent, trustworthy and eco-friendly management of seafood supply chains.
How innovation is helping clean our oceans
Thankfully, driven by innovative, cutting edge technologies, solutions are starting to appear. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the field of blockchain which is behind innovations designed to tackle major issues. That is precisely what has been created in a partnership between Quant and Ledger3 and who have in turn partnered with TOMKAT KoolPak.
This advanced thermodynamic packaging solution, which removes EPS and single-use plastics, aims to significantly reduce avoidable seafood wastage and create a more sustainable supply chain. Using Ledger3 which is powered by Quant’s Overledger blockchain interoperability platform to ensure traceability, this interoperable and scalable solution is accessible to all stakeholders involved in the supply chain of seafood economy, irrespective of what blockchain platforms they do, or do not, use. Assisted with funding from the Australian Government, the project has already received overwhelming interest and support from the Australian Seafood Sector, FRDC, WWF Australia, Sydney & Melbourne Fish Markets, State and local Government.
Bait to plate
Each layer of the KoolPak-Box contains an embedded chip, one of which has a temperature sensor. Each time a box containing freshly caught seafood is scanned via a smartphone app with a specific user ID, information such as the temperature, longitude and latitude, date, and time are recorded onto the blockchain. As the box moves through the supply chain and changes hands it is possible to track this information. The records that are made on the blockchain are immutable making it impossible to ‘fudge’ the data. With it, it is now possible to know not only the origin of the contents, including the waters it was caught in, but also accurate data about the freshness of the contents.
With 80% of Australian seafood exported, this collaboration of technologies from Quant, Ledger3 and smart box solution providers, have the potential to have a sizeable impact on the income realised from this industry. Food fraud, which is a major activity for organized crime syndicates, costs Australia’s economy tens of billions each year. While Australia’s major seafood export market customers are now demanding traceability. It is estimated that approximately 30% of consumers in China (a major consumer of Australian seafood) currently scan QR codes whenever they purchase seafood.
What you sea is what you get
The benefits are not just macroeconomic. Initiatives for sustainable fisheries management via quantitative modelling stock assessments and enforcing a quota system can be inaccurate and have not successfully curtailed the problem overfishing. The new blockchain powered solutions like this can help address this issue. By using blockchain, it would now be possible to monitor catch information because it would be easy to spot any discrepancy between reported numbers and the value of sale. It would also be possible to know in real-time if the fish has been caught in prohibited waters or contents have been tampered with.
Creating critical collaboration
For such an incredibly complex supply chain issue to be solved, cross-party collaboration of stakeholders is necessary. This is where having interoperability between blockchains, as well as existing systems, is critical. There are examples of supply provenance projects utilising blockchain, however, many involve consortia of stakeholders. What this means is that all those involved must agree to use the same technology and make a significant investment towards it. That may work for some stakeholders but not all. For example, logistics providers that transport seafood may be working for a range of different producers.
Furthermore, not all stakeholders involved in the supply chain would be able to take part in such consortia as joining fees alone may be prohibitive, not to mention the costs of the investments in infrastructure. If that wasn’t enough, blockchain technology is nascent and will invariably change. What this means is that removing the barriers to adoption of blockchain is critical. Data interoperability, through a platform such as Quant’s Overledger, is not only fundamental to all stakeholders taking part in the traceability of the data collected and stored, irrespective of size in the seafood supply chain. But it is the basis for a credible, future-proofed solution to protect against likely technology changes.
Announced today by Quant CEO, Gilbert Verdian at Supply Chains Unlocked in London.
Kool-Pack and Ledger3 partnership announcement was made during the Seafood Directions Conference in Melbourne Australia.
– Allen Harian – Co-founder & CEO at Ledger3
– Patrick Hone – Executive Director at Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
– Philippa Lyons – Consumer Sensory Scientist at Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Queensland)
– Kath Long – Co-founder at TomKat KoolPak
– Tom Long – Co-founder at TomKat KoolPak
– Clare Hallam – Co-founder at Ledger3
– Sue Poole – Principal Seafood Scientist, Seafood Team Leader at Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Queensland)
– Crispian Ashby – General Manager – Research and Investment at Fisheries Research and Development Corporation