Aquaculture Supply Chain’s Traceability System
Aquaculture has been going through a revolution. Anyone could easily forget that it is quite a new industry, as most of its farms came into existence in the late 20th century. Fortunately, the emergence of aquaculture has had positive outcomes. Today, aquaculture is responsible for over 50% of global fish consumption, making a significant contribution to our seafood supply. In addition to establishing a new industry, aquaculture holds the potential to address the challenge of feeding a growing population. As arable land remains limited and population numbers continue to rise, seafood production offers a sustainable solution for ensuring a reliable food source.
In 2018, the total production of fishery products, including aquaculture, reached its peak at around 179 million metric tons. Out of this total, around 156 million metric tons were allocated for human consumption, whereas approximately 22 million metric tons were primarily used to produce fishmeal and fish oil. Between 1961 and 2018, the per capita consumption of fish food increased from 9.0 kg to 20.5 kg, with an average annual growth rate of about 1.5%. Aquaculture now accounts for 46% of the total fishery product consumption, or 52%, when excluding non-food uses.
Managing sustainable practices, complying with local regulations, and ensuring quality across the seafood supply chain can be challenging, leading to consumer doubts about product quality. To tackle this issue, regulators, food processors, buyers, suppliers, and customers must have a dependable mechanism for exchanging precise information regarding the fish. A digital traceability solution, such as blockchain, offers a potential solution to this problem by creating an immutable record of every aspect of the fish’s journey, from its origin as an egg to its presence in the fishmonger’s case.
Aquaculture involves farming aquatic organisms such as fish, Mollusca, crustaceans, and echinoderms. In this process, certain interventions are made to enhance production, such as stocking, feeding, and protecting the organisms from predators. Aquaculture implies ownership or contractual rights over the cultivated stock, primarily for livelihood and business purposes. Harvesting aquatic organisms owned throughout their rearing period is considered part of the fisheries industry. Aquaculture production involves cultivating aquatic organisms for consumption as raw materials for processing or trade. It also includes the production of fish and hatchery outputs, which are measured by numbers rather than weight.
Their purpose is to track the journey of these products throughout the value chain, ensuring transparency and accountability in terms of origin, production practices, and quality.
Traceability is crucial in ensuring the safety and quality of aquatic organisms in the aquaculture supply chain. It is a component of food safety management systems, essential for meeting national and international requirements and accessing specific markets like the USA, the EU, and Japan. Traceability can be mandatory or voluntary, depending on government or private sector initiatives. Regardless of regulatory requirements, traceability has become a standard practice in the international trade of fish and fish products.
Blockchain is a decentralized, tamper-resistant digital ledger or distributed database that facilitates the secure and transparent recording, verification, and storage of information. It works through a network of computers, or nodes, where every node has a copy of the entire chain of blocks. Each block contains a list of transactions or data that, once added, becomes almost impossible to change or manipulate. Blockchain’s immutability is enabled through cryptographic hashes and consensus algorithms.
RFID tags are used in fish farming to track and monitor fish. These tags contain radio frequency identification technology that allows fish farmers to collect data on the fish’s location, behavior, and health status. This information helps in managing fish populations and optimizing feeding and environmental conditions.
GPS tracking is employed for shipping containers in the aquaculture industry to ensure the secure and efficient transportation of seafood products. Containers can be tracked in real-time using GPS devices, providing accurate information on their location and movement. This helps in improving logistics, reducing delays, and ensuring the freshness and quality of the products.
Blockchain technology is utilized for data storage and sharing in the aquaculture industry. It provides a decentralized and tamper-proof system for recording and managing data related to fish farming, supply chains, and certifications. Blockchain enhances transparency, traceability, and trust among stakeholders, ensuring the authenticity and integrity of information.
Cloud-based aquaculture management software is a digital solution that enables fish farmers to streamline their operations and enhance productivity. This software is hosted on cloud servers, allowing farmers to access and manage data, such as water quality, feeding schedules, inventory, and production records, from anywhere with an internet connection. It facilitates better decision-making, automation of processes, and improved efficiency in managing aquaculture operations.
Overall, using these technologies contribute to the advancement of fish farming & traceability in aquaculture by enabling better tracking and monitoring of fish, efficient shipping logistics, secure data management, and streamlined farm management practices.
Advantages of Implementing an Advanced Traceability System in Aquaculture Supply Chain
Blockchain-based traceability increases consumer trust by promoting transparency and accountability, empowering consumers to make informed choices, and supporting sustainable aquaculture. It facilitates collaboration and information sharing among stakeholders, ensuring the secure sharing of critical information such as catch data and sustainability practices, fostering cooperation, and the adoption of best practices.
Blockchain-based aquaculture traceability promotes sustainability by increasing transparency, traceability, certification credibility, supply chain optimization, consumer trust, and stakeholder collaboration.
Challenges of Implementing Traceability System in Aquaculture Supply Chain and Ways to Overcome Them
Implementing a comprehensive traceability system in the aquaculture supply chain comes with its own set of challenges. These challenges include costs, lack of standardization, and resistance from stakeholders. However, there are ways to overcome these hurdles:
- Costs: Implementing a traceability system can involve expenses related to technology, infrastructure, training, and maintenance. To address this challenge, governments and industry organizations can provide financial support, grants, or subsidies to incentivize adoption. Additionally, exploring cost-effective technological solutions and leveraging existing infrastructure can help implementation costs.
- Lack of Standardization: The absence of standardized traceability practices across the industry can pose challenges in data exchange and interoperability. Establishing industry-wide standards and guidelines is crucial. Governments, industry associations, and certification bodies can play a role in developing and promoting these standards. To ensure consistent and harmonized traceability practices, collaboration and knowledge-sharing among stakeholders are essential.
- Resistance to Change: Implementing a traceability system may require existing practices, workflows, and system changes. Resistance from stakeholders can stem from concerns about disruption, increased workload, or reluctance to share data. Effective communication and stakeholder engagement is key to addressing these concerns. Demonstrating the benefits of traceability, such as improved product quality, market access, and consumer trust, can help overcome resistance. Providing training and support to stakeholders during the transition period can also facilitate smoother adoption.
By addressing these challenges through collaborative efforts, including financial support, standardization efforts, and effective communication, the aquaculture industry can implement a comprehensive traceability system that enhances transparency, accountability, and sustainability throughout the supply chain.
Real-life Examples of Advanced Traceability Systems in Aquaculture Supply Chain
- Norwegian Salmon Industry – Implementing RFID Tags for Fish Farming Traceability: The salmon industry has successfully implemented advanced traceability systems using RFID tags in Norway. Each salmon is tagged with a unique identifier that contains information about its origin, farming practices, and transportation history. This enables the industry to track and trace each fish throughout the supply chain, ensuring transparency and accountability. The RFID tags also facilitate data collection for analysis and optimization of farming practices, leading to improved sustainability and product quality.
- Thai Union’s SeaChange® Program – Blockchain for Supply Chain Transparency:
Thai Union, one of the world’s largest seafood companies, has implemented the SeaChange® program, which utilizes blockchain technology for supply chain transparency in the seafood industry. By implementing blockchain, Thai Union can securely record and share information about their seafood products, including catch, processing, and distribution details. This enables consumers and other stakeholders to verify the authenticity, sustainability, and ethical practices of the seafood they purchase, fostering trust and transparency in the supply chain.
- BAP Certification Program – Responsible Aquaculture Practices:
The Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification program is a globally recognized initiative that promotes responsible aquaculture practices. BAP certification ensures traceability and transparency throughout the aquaculture supply chain. The program sets standards for environmental sustainability, social responsibility, animal welfare, and food safety. By implementing BAP certification, aquaculture producers demonstrate their commitment to responsible practices, and consumers can make informed choices about sustainable and responsibly sourced seafood.
These real-life examples demonstrate the successful implementation of advanced traceability systems in the aquaculture supply chain. These initiatives have enhanced transparency, sustainability, and consumer trust in the industry through the use of RFID tags, blockchain technology, and certification programs
Future of Advanced Traceability Systems in Aquaculture Supply Chain
The future of advanced traceability systems in the aquaculture supply chain offers exciting opportunities and trends to look out for:
- Internet-of-Things (IoT) Integration into Aquafarms: Aquafarms can gather real-time information about things such as water quality and fish behavior using IoT technology. This helps farmers improve their practices and makes tracking seafood from farm to table easier.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Algorithms for Predictive Analytics: AI can analyze large amounts of data from aquafarms and supply chains. It can predict and manage challenges like disease outbreaks or environmental changes. This helps farmers make better decisions and improves efficiency and sustainability.
- Increasing Demand for Sustainable and Traceable Seafood: People are more interested in knowing where their seafood comes from and if it’s sustainably sourced. Advanced traceability systems provide transparent information about the origin and production of seafood. This allows consumers to make informed choices and encourages producers to be more sustainable.
These opportunities and trends show how advanced traceability systems can make aquaculture better for the environment and more efficient and give consumers the information they need to make responsible choices.
The aquaculture industry is growing very rapidly. Aquaculture is changing the typical method of fishery and making it a more sustainable and easy process.
Traceability is an important mechanism to ensure regularisation, quality, and safe products throughout the supply chain. Investing in an advanced traceability system such as blockchain traceability is a smart move for aquaculture businesses because it enhances product quality and safety, ensures compliance with regulations and standards, provides market access and competitive advantage, improves operational efficiency and cost savings, and builds consumer trust and loyalty. Implementing blockchain into the aquaculture supply chain has challenges which could be overcome by following appropriate steps. In essence, using Blockchain for advanced traceability in aquaculture has multiple benefits. It increases consumer trust by promoting transparency and accountability, empowering consumers to make informed choices, and promoting sustainability by increasing transparency, traceability, certification credibility, supply chain optimization, consumer trust, and stakeholder collaboration.
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Last modified on August 19th, 2023 at 3:34 pm