Gaining Trust from Customers: How Blockchain is Transforming the Aquaculture Industry
Consumers are more satisfied coming into stores with tags containing full information about the products they will buy. Blockchain tags give the assurance that physical labels never could.
In this article, we will come back to talk about Internet of Things (IoT). As previously mentioned, IoT describes how certain objects are embedded with various technologies in order to connect and exchange data record with other devices. In this article, we will focus on blockchain technology in particular, as part of the Internet of Things.
What is Blockchain Technology?
Blockchain technology was first fostered to store, verify, and manage digital transactions that often happen between many locations. It acts as a type of database that keeps all the information about a certain product. This technology allows updates to be made, creating a chain of information or records, hence the name “blockchain”.
The information that is inside these records are accessible to everyone in the network. If we are to talk about the aquaculture industry, it would be the producers, sellers, and buyers that exist in the supply chain.
In response to the ever-growing demand of consumers to get transparent information about the food they are buying, blockchain is becoming more popular as it combats this issue. It allows the process of record keeping inside the network to be done in a easy, safe, and secure manner.
How does IoT work within blockchain? IoT allows different devices on the internet to send data. Different blockchain networks can then share and access IoT data without the need for control or any central management. They work together to make sure data is secured with every transaction recorded and put in a data block.
Blockchain in Aquaculture
So, how does it work in aquaculture?
The process starts from the point of catching the fish until it reaches the store or restaurant you go to. First, the technology is used from the boat of the catchers themselves. The seafood will be tracked which provides data about the exact location of catch. In this blockchain data, there is even information about the vessel and crew. With this technology, you can even see video footage of the catch. Second, the caught seafood will be moved to a processor where information about it such as their size, pack and shipment date, and expiration date will be made clear. Third, the technology will help with tracking down location and the logistics data of the seafood as it is shipped into the grocery store or restaurant. Lastly, when the seafood has reached the grocery store, there will be more information added into the blockchain record such as the sell-by date. This process helps to make consumers feel at ease about the seafood they are eating.
This type of technology brings many benefits. Many experts have highlighted how problems that existed before with fishery has vanished because of blockchain. Since transactions are recorded on the spot, it is easier to identify when products which are lower quality are mislabeled as something more premium. This way, fraud can be easily detected and stopped before reaching the hands of customers. In addition, transparency between companies and consumers pushes for better awareness in environmental and social awareness. Producers who have worked hard and handle the complexity of their supply chain will be given the awareness they deserve. There will be more information exchange between different groups among society, allowing great understanding between them. This ultimately brings more comfort and trust between these groups.
However, it can still be challenging to implement such aquaculture projects. A director of Diana Food emphasized how even coming up with the right plan in technological projects in the aquaculture industry can be the toughest part. “In my opinion, it is harder to come up with the right plan and make sure it is fitting for long term execution. Aquaculture is not mature farming industry (vs chicken, pork,etc.),” he said. If we talk about blockchain specifically, this difficulty can mean the difficulty for adoption of such systems. Implementing blockchain means training not only supply chains to work with it properly, but also the suppliers also. Without being able to do so, the process won’t be as effective as expected. Moreover, blockchain is still a fairly new technology and the skills needed to apply it correctly is still in short supply. Finding the talent to execute such projects smoothly can be hard for companies. Without understanding these difficulties, the technology might not work for all types of seafood. Tech companies will still need to think about how to incorporate other technological solutions to combine with blockchain to potentially create more sustainable solutions for aquaculture.
How Indonesia Can Benefit from This
Indonesia is the largest archipelagic country in the world, possessing many marine resources. They are one of the top five aquaculture producers of tuna and shrimp. With such high potential, Indonesia is a hit area for seafood lovers. With the help of blockchain technology, Indonesia can become even more reliable as a big seafood producer.
In 2016, Provenance ran a blockchain project in Indonesia for tuna. In this project, a fishing method is used with the basic handline, pole, and line. Fish are individually identified back to the fisher and tracked through transformation in facilities while near-field communication is done to communicate the product packaging.
Such successful projects like this can be inspiration for Indonesian aquaculture companies to implement blockchain technology also.
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