The meat and seafood industry is a significant part of the food chain across the world. To maintain a healthy diet and a fit physical body, the consumption of seafood and meat is preferred.
The seafood industry currently stands with a $262.81 billion market. It is also one of the industries aiming to utilize the exponential benefits of blockchain technology to bring in an effective aquaculture and fisheries supply chain.
China, Norway, Vietnam, the US, India, Chile, and Canada are the top countries exporting sea foods to the global distribution market. Though the current value systems can accommodate the export or import of information, the need for a transparent structure is driving the industry to adopt blockchain in the aquaculture supply chain.
Fishery Value Chains
Many international fishery organizations are starting to integrate blockchain aquaculture and fisheries to enhance the seafood industry.
The principle of maintaining fresh and quality products is an essential element of the fishery value chain. With blockchain, all the species can be maintained and monitored under their required conditions.
The fishery value chain on blockchain consists of all the information about the seafood, such as the time of harvest, the farmer details, fish species, the conditions in which they have grown, etc., while making it automatic and quick.
It interconnects all the market participants under one system making all the operations like farming, harvest, marketing, and inbound and outbound distributions streamlined.
Additionally, via incorporating the blockchain aquaculture supply chain, the potential of redefining their value chain becomes exceptional. Consumers are becoming more aware and requesting details regarding the quality of the products they consume. In such cases, decentralized technology aids significantly as it automatically stores all the information as the product passes the chain.
Further, incorporating the blockchain farming structure into aquacultures helps the industry scale its quality and transparency more. On the other hand, it acts as an equal space for both developing and developed countries to make optimal use of their seafood industry.
Limitations in the Current Fishery Farming Industry
Due to the growing demand for seafood consumption, coastal nations largely involved in seafood and fishery exports are faced with many industrial constraints. Some of the known challenges that the aquaculture industry faces are as follows:
Seafood wastage during transit is seen at a large scale in major fishery exporting countries due to poor quality surveillance via transit.
Errors in quality inspections lead to the distribution of poor-quality fish.
Over-production of specific species of fish in some areas results in overstocking.
Current logistics systems remain ineffective in some developing countries, which directly affects their aquaculture supply chain.
Thus, blockchain integration may aid the industry as it revamps the supply chain processes and enhances fishery food safety.
Blockchain Applications in Different Environmental Areas Associated with Fisheries
The harvesting and distribution in the fishery supply chain involve various environmental areas where the foods are transported before they reach the end user. The prominent zones which are encompassed in the blockchain fishing supply chain are as follows:
1. Coastal Areas
Coastal areas are the opening point of the seafood supply chain. Here, data like farmer fishing IDs, licenses, areas of fishing, species, and approximate volumes are added to the blockchain. It also makes a record of the climatic conditions and sanitary conditions to ensure food safety.
2. Flag States
The responsibility of monitoring the supply chain here is similar to coastal areas. Additionally, information like the vessel ID, legality status, stored infrastructure, and critical control points is also verified and added onto the blockchain.
The ports are requested to ensure that the food chain condition is maintained. Carrier ID, Observer ID, geographic conditions, location coordinates, entry notices, loading or unloading codes, port details, and information on the storage warehouses are added for inspection.
4. Processing Territories
The processing territory refers to the zone or port where the food is transported to go through additional food processing like grading, packing, labeling, or any other processes that do not affect the quality and volume of the food.
Thailand and Vietnam act as processing territories for most of the tuna supply chain. Here, key elements like product code, net volume, species data, hygienic statuses, processes name, documentation, gradings, certifications, and consignee code will be processed onto the blockchain.
5. End Market
The supply chain ends as the seafood reaches the final consignee. The blockchain details are updated until the product is used by the end user. Final delivery records, such as import code, name, place of import, customs paid, quality certifications, payment models, etc., are mentioned.
Enhancing Supply Chain Traceability and Food Safety
With blockchain technology, there came an easy way to ensure traceability for all the products integrated into the blockchain. Especially as decentralization becomes a part of the food supply chain, food safety and traceability are ensured utmost through the following ways:
Since all the data from the point of the harvest till the purchase by the end user is available on-chain, it ensures maximal traceability while also reducing the biggest problem in the market - counterfeit seafood.
Fake licensing and fake grading are avoided when the blockchain supply chain is implemented in huge batches, as it becomes easy to locate the authenticity.
Even trivial data related to the transmitting food is added on-chain so that it is helpful to identify if the product has undergone some processes, such as sanitation or halal processes.
Safety and hygiene conditions during the whole cycle are also verified.
Blockchain’s inherent characteristics, like immutability and decentralization, along with smart contract features, can serve as a reliable tech for tracking the authenticity of foods.
Several developed and developing countries have thus started using blockchain in the fishing industry to ensure premium food quality for their masses.
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