Blockchain technology The potential value of blockchain technology in the seafood supply chain Bryan Horsu, Master of Science Student at the University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands, https://www.rotterdamuas.com/ Wesley Malcorps, PhD Student at the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, UK, https://www.stir.ac.uk/about/faculties/naturalsciences/aquaculture/ Paul van der Heijden, Founder at MatureDevelopment BV, The Netherlands https://maturedevelopment.com
growing population with an increasing appetite for highly nutritious seafood resulted in an increase in global fish consumption from approximately 10kg in 1961 until 20kg in 2013. Capture fisheries and aquaculture are important contributors to fulfill the growing global demand for seafood
(FAO, 2018). However, both industries are made up of complex global supply chains and are subjected to social and environmental challenges. Increasing consumer awareness, environmental concerns and food safety requires increasing traceability and transparency along these supply chains (Fox et al., 2018; Lidskog et al., 2015; Black et al., 2016; Pramod et al., 2014). This article explores briefly how distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain, could contribute to overcome these challenges and support the sustainable production of seafood. Firstly, the potential of blockchain technology in the supply chain is explored. This is followed up by a brief explanation of the potential of this technology in the aquaculture sector, with a focus on the aquafeed industry and sustainability. Thirdly, it will zoom in on the capture fishery industry through a conducted survey at a company in the Netherlands.
The potential of blockchain technology in the supply chain
A large proportion of stakeholders along the supply chain are currently using paper or computer systems that barely interact with each other, which results in a lack of traceability and transparency (Appelhanz et al., 2016). Distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain - a decentralised, distributed, immutable, digital database system, that stores numerous transactions shared between parties - could increase traceability and transparency (Westerkamp et al., 2019; Consensys, 2019). The transactions taking place in the ledger are subjected to verification by a consensus and agreement among the parties. The moment the information linked to the completed transaction is put into the system, it can never be rebutted or altered, as each transaction entered into the system holds a specific verifiable record (Crosby et al., 2016). This technology combined with e.g. sensors, tags, QR codes and big data could have the potential to increase traceability and transparency of the sourcing of food and feed ingredients. It could provide insight in social and environmental parameters like place of origin, transportation conditions (e.g. time, temperature and humidity), certifications and companies involved along the supply chain. This technology has wider applications and has the potential to improve efficiency of business transactions, compliance processes and it could develop inclusive business models. It can also fasten administrative processes, logistics and facilitate the exchange of value without having to rely on a thirdparty institution, e.g. investments funds (Westerkamp et al., 2019; Consensys, 2019; Medium, 2019; Bitcoinist, 2018; Holotiuk, 2017). Additionally, traceability and transparency are crucial in order to guarantee food safety and prevent fraud, while it could also improve efficiency of the food production system by highlighting food waste hotspots and adding value to by-products and
22 | September 2019 - International Aquafeed