Provenance Tackles Illegal Fishing and Human Rights Violations with Blockchain Technology

The applications of blockchain technology are proving to be endless. Name a challenge and it can probably be solved using Bitcoin’s underlying technology. Provenance, a social enterprise has proven it by adopting the technology for supply chain management, effectively tackling illegal fishing and human rights abuses.

Project Provenance Limited, based out of the United Kingdom offers blockchain based supply chain transparency and traceability services.  This digital technology solution is expected to offer a way to address the widespread human rights abuses and illegal fishing prevalent in the seafood industry.

According to the company, the blockchain based solution can be used to track fish from the time it is caught, till it reaches the supermarket shelves. The movement of fish throughout the supply chain is recorded on the blockchain and can be readily verified by anyone with access to a smartphone and internet access. Environmental Justice Foundation has taken a special interest in Provenance’s application.

The executive director of Environmental Justice Foundation, Steve Trent was quoted by an English publication saying,

“building in mechanisms to deliver transparency from net to plate is central to eradicating illegal, unsustainable fishing and the human rights abuses that have plagued parts of the seafood production sector.”

Provenance’s technology will allow fishermen to record their catch by sending a simple SMS. This will replace the existing practice of maintaining paper records, which can’t always be relied upon.  As the catch moves up the processing/supply chain, these records are also transferred over the blockchain. This will create a transparent, readily verifiable trail. Once it reaches the end point, be it a restaurant or a supermarket, customers can scan the accompanying label to verify its entire history, from the point of origin of the produce to the end point.

The technology is being tested by many food companies. Jessi Baker, the founder of Provenance has a special interest in the fishing industry. She says,

“We want to help support fish that is caught sustainably and verify these claims down the chain to help drive the market for slavery-free fish. This pilot shows that complex, global supply chains can be made transparent by using blockchain technology.”

Jessi wants to implement the solution on a global scale so that it can be used by border control and certifying authorities to ensure that there are no environmental or human rights violations.

Use of blockchain technology is supply chain management is a well-known application. A handful of companies are already working on it. While blockchain enables transparent record keeping, ensuring sustainable fishing and safe, humane working conditions will still be the responsibility of government bodies and various social organizations.

Ref: The Guardian | Provenance | Image: Provenance