Blockchain Employed to Fight Slavery

Executive Brief

The global fishing industry is renowned for issues with both sustainability and human rights abuses. Much has been done to combat this, with various initiatives to ensure that sustainable fishing by properly paid fishermen are sought and those caught with slave labor are shunned. However, identifying the origin of fish has always been an issue, until now. The UK Based Co-Op Food Group in partnership with blockchain business Provenance are trialing a new solution that uses blockchain to keep accurate, easily accessible records of fish movement from the water to the plate.

Read the full story below. 

Blockchain is being adapted to work in a seemingly never ending variety of new applications, which not only demonstrate the flexibility of the technology, but also spread awareness of the cryptocurrency industry to new audiences. However, a new initiative from a UK based food co-operative The Co-Op Food group, perhaps the most unique implementation of blockchain yet seen.

Commercial fishing throughout the world is plagued by issues, one of the most prevalent involves human rights issues and the common use of slave labor. The idea, piloted by UK based blockchain business Provenance, is to use blockchain to track the origins of fish, and is aimed at manufacturers, retailers and restaurants.

The current system uses paper records in combination with physical tags on the fish, however the blockchain system uses a simple SMS message from the fishermen to register their fish on the blockchain as they are brought on the boat. From there, the identification follows the fish along the production journey, including suppliers, any processing or packaging plants and so on.

Retailers and restaurants, and even eventually consumers, will be able to identify the history of fish using smartphones, replacing the printed label we are used to. The records can not only help identify sources that use slave labor, but also track provision of sustainably caught fish, and provide a complete ‘water to plate’ identification of the fish throughout that journey.

Sustainability standards have been successful at giving consumers choice, and that in turn has ensured that the popularity of sustainable fisheries has also risen, strengthening the cause itself. This same process can now be used to identify fish caught in regions and businesses that respect human rights, and allow all aspects of the supply chain, and consumers to easily avoid fish from sources that have suspect records on human rights, in particular the use of slave labor.

This fiscal pressure will, it is hoped, steadily reduce the instances of such abuses and ensure that the fishing industry is improved over time. A genuinely important initiative that finds blockchain at its heart, not only promoting the digital currency industry itself, but more importantly, helping save human lives around the world.

Author: Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore is a writer and researcher with a love for the eclectic, family and the world we inhabit. He spends his spare time photographing the varied wildlife that surrounds us daily and contemplating why Firefly never made it past season one.

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