Fraud runs rampant in the seafood industry, but blockchain (the technology supporting the growing cryptocurrency market) could help ensure the fish you order in a restaurant is the fish that finds its way onto your plate.
In 2016, Oceana, an ocean conservation advocacy group, compiled a report drawing from 200 published studies on seafood fraud. Based on their findings, a whopping 20 percent of seafood is not labeled correctly. The problem extends to all corners of the globe and at all levels of the supply chain, from the people catching the fish to those distributing and selling it.
The seafood mislabeling infractions detailed in the report ranged from the relatively minor (a restaurant advertising wild salmon but serving a cheaper farmed salmon) to the downright disturbing: sushi chefs purposely mislabeling endangered whale meat as fatty tuna in order to smuggle it into the U.S.
The consequences of mislabeling pop up in global health, the economy, and conservation efforts. According to the Oceana report, the best way to combat them is by increasing traceability. The report asserts that a more detailed and transparent record of information about the fish as it moves along the supply chain could help decrease instances of mislabeling.
Blockchain could provide this record.Tracking Seafood
Though most commonly associated with money, blockchain’s utility isn’t limited to the world of finance. At its core, the technology is simply a secure, transparent way to record transactions. A number of companies are looking for ways to apply it to the seafood supply chain.
In April 2017, Intel released a demonstration case study showing how Hyperledger Sawtooth, a platform for creating and managing blockchains, could facilitate seafood supply chain traceability. That study used sensors to track and record information about a fish’s location, temperatur...