Global per capita seafood consumption has almost doubled in the past 50 years, in addition to population growth that is projected to rise to an additional 2 billion people by 2050. Nearly 90% of the world’s seafood is sourced from fisheries and aquaculture operations that are struggling to be sustainable, in decline, or on the verge of collapse, while the seafood industry supports the livelihoods of one in ten people on the planet. Despite these concerning statistics, in the midst of increasing demand and plateauing supply, around 50% of fish are discarded or wasted within supply chains. And in terms of statistics, we have little data for >90% of our seafood which is predominantly harvested by small scale producers in developing nations. The FAO have repeatedly highlighted the widening gap between developed and developing nation seafood sustainability and the UN Global Compact identify seafood traceability as the first of their 5 tipping points for the Global Ocean Economy.
The reason for this gap is clear - there are millions of small scale seafood producers — fishers and farmers — in developing nations, and while they almost all have mobile phones, they generally cannot afford even the most basic electronic Catch Documentation & Traceability (eCDT) technologies. So, we have > 90% of the world’s seafood coming from developing nations (plus many other important agricultural products) and no mechanism to collect data from the source — no data = no management = questionable sustainability.
The use of data to drive efficiency and innovation is critical for the agriculture industry, and seafood is especially challenging with over 12,000 species travelling through predominantly fragmented supply chains. Change needs to happen at each mile along these supply chains, and especially at the first mile, and therefore there is a critical need to develop a data ecosystem that can facilitate and incentivize the sharing of data in order to foster more efficient trade.
The Trace Protocol blockchain platform addresses the key challenge of who pays what, when, where and how for traceability systems in supply chains, with digital tokens being the medium of exchange for the key data elements (KDEs), allowing the market to price the data, and use the system, as and when they need to.
The Trace Protocol is a highly scalable, open source platform that allows incentivisation of data sharing in a democratised manner wherein sustainability initiatives can be driven by digital transformation initiatives. It is a decentralised platform that allows different ecosystems to not only share data but also allow to share the incentives in a proportionate value to the data shared. For baseline traceability - verifying Legal, Reported and Regulated produce - these digital vouchers (tokens) create a mechanism for rewarding producers and supply chain intermediaries with instant mobile airtime rewards, and/or government e-vouchers, and/or direct remuneration where applicable on a country by country basis - an incentive for responsible practices extending beyond government mandates for traceability.
By creating the appropriate reward structure for data capture along with an interoperable platform, the Trace Protocol also allows for makers of third party tools such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices (sensors, etc) and other data inputs and dApp developers to participate and be rewarded accordingly. This ultimately allows seafood buyers to have better insight into product safety and quality.
The Trace Protocol represents an important global solution alongside a plethora of required partnerships with the aim being to achieve an end result of seafood buyers with the right information to make better decisions, governments better able to manage fisheries using up to date data, and producers and intermediaries who are rewarded for data sharing and responsible behaviour.
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