UK Startup Wraps Up 6-Month Blockchain Pilot for Fish Supply Chain Tracking

Provenance, a London-based startup specializing in the use of blockchain technology for the supply chain, has successfully completed a six-month long pilot for tracking fish and key social claims down the chain to export using blockchain technology.

The project, a collaboration between Provenance, the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) and Humanity United, aimed at demonstrating the capabilities of blockchain technology as to provide a robust proof of compliance to standards at origin and along the chain and prevent the “double-spend” of certificates.

It sought to explore how these emerging technologies could form the basis for an open system for traceability that would allow for consumer-facing transparency for food and other physical goods.

In a report released earlier this week, the company details the results of the pilot.

“Provenance’s ambition was not to demonstrate yet another digital interface, but a solution to the grave need for data interoperability: for tracking items and claims securely, end-to-end, in a highly robust, yet accessible format without the need for a centralized data management system,” the report says.

“It was found that blockchains meet these needs and offer an exciting paradigm shift necessary for traceability in such vast complex supply chains as the Southeast Asia fishing industry.”

Image credit: Pole and line fishermen in Ambon, Maluku, Indonesia, equipped with cellular and smart phones, via

The pilot used blockchain technology, along with mobile and smart tags to track physical goods and verified attributes from origin to point of sale.

Provenance worked with fishermen in Indonesia from two different supply chains, supply chain for yellowfin tuna and supply chain for skipjack tuna, to help them collect catch data and track it through to suppliers.

Indonesia is the largest tuna-producing country making it the ideal market for assessing opportunities to increase transparency in fish and seafood supply chains.

It found that there is an urgent need for a new system that would allow for greater traceability and further called for a common backend to support the growth of a new digital ecosystem.

“Human rights abuses, overfishing, fraud, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fish: a number of practices in the seafood industry are compromising the wellbeing of environments, wildlife and people all over the world,” the report says.

“With current systems however, effective interoperability of data along the supply chain poses a large technical challenge.

“A centralized system, with a governing third party was, until recently, the only conceivable way to achieve data and transaction transparency. The truth is that no single organization can be responsible for making data throughout a whole supply chain transparent.”

Although blockchain technology cannot solve traceability alone, it does provide an “ideal base layer upon which architectures for robust traceability systems can be built and participated in without ownership by the biggest or richest actor.”

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