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Blockchain Traceability System in Aquaculture Supply Chain

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What is the Traceability of Aquaculture?

Traceability refers to the ability to track the progress of a food item as it goes through designated phases of production, processing, and distribution. It enables access to any or all data about a product throughout its life cycle by using a system of recorded identifications. Tracking and tracing provide a complete picture of the product’s journey, from its origin to its final destination, and help ensure transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain.

A traceability system aims to establish a connection between the physical flow of goods and the flow of information, ensuring a comprehensive record of all stages in the supply chain and production process. The companies can easily and instantly determine when, where and by whom their products were produced, including which supplier was included etc.

Recent market research indicates that the global food traceability market reached a valuation of $18.3 billion in 2022. The remarkable growth of this market can be attributed to various factors, including rising consumer concerns about food adulteration and safety, the enforcement of stringent food safety regulations, and an increase in food recalls. Consequently, there is a growing demand for enhanced transparency and accountability in the food supply chain, leading to a surge in the food traceability industry. This trend is expected to persist in the foreseeable future, fostering continuous expansion within the food traceability market.

What’s the problem with the current traceability system?

The rising concerns for food safety worldwide, coupled with the growing demand for imperceptible product attributes like sustainability and low carbon footprint, have prompted the need to develop and enhance traceability systems. In today’s dynamic consumer landscape, traceability has emerged as a pervasive challenge. With rapidly changing consumer preferences, there is a growing demand for transparency and immediate access to trustworthy and precise information. Consumers expect the ability to obtain reliable data whenever the need arises.

Further, in the supply chain process, the interaction between the stakeholders should be trustful in order to identify the root cause of the issue or problems throughout the chain. To eliminate the risk of food fraud in the supply chain, many alternative solutions have been proposed. For example, documenting various key details of food, such as DNA barcoding, morphological data of species, and geographical origin of food, for a better understanding of the supply chain stakeholders. However, this approach includes manual tasks and is centralized, which is prone to information tampering and negatively affects the supply chain processes. Hence, it has become necessary to implement an optimal solution for traceability in the aquaculture industry.

How Does the Blockchain Traceability System Work in Aquaculture?

Food fraud poses a significant threat to the aquaculture industry, making it one of the most susceptible sectors to such illicit activities. Seafood is exposed to various factors that render it prone to food fraud, including but not limited to mislabeling and species substitution during processing, the presence of diseases and the use of antibiotics in aquaculture farms, tampering with expiration dates, and disruptions in the cold chain during logistics and distribution.

Blockchain technology allows the development of a platform where the information can be visible to all legitimate stakeholders. The information exchanged in the blockchain solution is immutable and permanently reserved on the blockchain. Hence, all the parties involved in the fishery supply chain are responsible for the data during their business trades and can’t deny their actions. Also, to address the existing issue of traceability of seafood products can be resolved by utilizing RFID, NFC, and QR code techniques together.

Furthermore, digital profiles of various fish species and creating product tags can be used as a verification method. The digital profile of the species could be stored on the blockchain and can be checked for verifying the fish’s identity at the time of shipping.

How Blockchain Traceability System Can Enhance Sustainability?

In recent years, unsustainable overfishing has become one of the major environmental and economic problems. To overcome the overfishing problem and improve sustainability, governments worldwide are turning to blockchain technology.

A blockchain traceability system is ideal for tracing and managing the aquaculture industry. By enforcing a blockchain traceability system, the government can monitor that all fishing activities are being performed and recorded accurately. By promoting enhanced transparency in fishing practices and enforcing accountability for catches, this measure aims to reduce overfishing.

Furthermore, the government can also initiate incentives for sustainable aquaculture practices. For example, they can offer digital tokens as rewards for fishing in a sustainable manner. These tokens can be utilized to buy special fishing privileges or access exclusive fishing areas.

Blockchain traceability system holds significant potential in addressing overfishing and advancing sustainability efforts. Through its ability to enhance transparency, incentivize sustainable practices, and establish a decentralized market for FishCoin, blockchain can contribute to securing healthy and plentiful fish stocks for future generations.

Benefits of Implementing Blockchain-Based Traceability in the Aquaculture Supply Chain

  1. Non-tampered information storage
    The primary feature of utilizing the traceability function is to have the availability of non-tampered data to all members of the aquaculture supply chain. All data relating to the agreements among the supply chain members are stored on the blockchain, beginning from the resource journey to the selling of the product. These data transactions can’t be modified or deleted once they are stored on the blockchain.
  2. Transparency 
    Blockchain is a distributed database that leverages transparency. All supply chain members have the responsibility to upload their data about the product. The digital collection of correct information enhances accountability and trust among parties. In case a payment is executed, all members of the supply chain are informed about all of the changes occurring in the supply chain.
  3. Streamline operations 
    Blockchain is global and scalable, which signifies that the technology can support worldwide partnerships and communications in just a few seconds. This makes it an optimal solution for the economy of globalization. Digitization of the data leads to less administrative work and more consistent information tracking. The stakeholders don’t have to connect with other partners to gather data. They can simply sign in to the blockchain-based supply chain system and instantly get data.

How does Blockchain Traceability Affect the Aquaculture Business?

The implementation of a blockchain traceability system in the aquaculture industry has its challenges and effects. The key challenge would be that blockchain technology is still relatively new, with no documented framework to conduct its execution. The fishery companies who want to implement a blockchain traceability system will need to identify the type of blockchain platform they want to use, the types of information they want to collect using the system, and how to structure this collected data. This could be a complicated task, as there are many potential solutions to choose from. PrimaFelicitas is one of the most promising Web3 and Blockchain development companies with incredibly experienced leadership and a technically skilled team dedicated to furnishing superior quality and customer service.

The next challenge is the cost associated with implementing the latest technologies. The company will require to invest in essential training, infrastructure, and personnel. These expenses can be further multiplied by the requirement to incorporate blockchain technology into the existing system.

Despite these challenges that might affect the aquaculture business, the potential advantages of traceability are significant. Blockchain traceability system will minimize paper work and help streamline the supply chain operations. If blockchain technology is implemented correctly, it can become a powerful tool for enhancing the sustainability of the aquaculture industry.

Future Takeaway

The aquaculture industry is one of the largest industries, which provides 12% of global livelihood. From the past 50 years of global per capita consumption, people have started eating more seafood, with consumption growing by nearly 90%. However, the aquaculture industry is often unsustainable and inefficient. For example, approximately 89% of wild fish stocks worldwide are either overfished or fully exploited.

To overcome these issues, it is essential to implement a blockchain-based aqua food chain system. The blockchain traceability system enables independent industry stakeholders to harness the power of blockchain, such as security, transparency, and trust. The system enables improved communication and coordination among various parties, which further helps control the quality and quantity of the species of wild fish caught.

The blockchain traceability system is optimal for traceability, where each stakeholder can access a copy of the information, enabling all operations to work seamlessly together even without trusting each other completely. Also, for the end consumers, accessing the data related to the product stored on the blockchain will become easy.

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