Meet Jafar. Most days, in the very early hours of the morning – well before dawn – Jafar sets off in his small boat from the nearby beach on Seram Island, Indonesia, to catch yellowfin tuna.
Like other local fishers, he uses the one-by-one handline method – considered one of the most environmentally responsible ways of catching these highly-prized fish. And today, thanks to the full traceability of his catch, enabled through TraceTales and SAP Blockchain technology, his tuna is in high demand.
Moreover, being able to prove where and how his fish was caught puts Jafar, his fellow fishers, and also their fishery on a much more sustainable footing in the long term.
Before there was TraceTales and blockchain
It was sometimes hard for fishers like Jafar to prove that the tuna they were catching was indeed from an environmentally and socially responsible fishery. Most handliners fish in small groups alone, and are usually out at sea all day. Even though they were catching some beautiful yellowfin, they couldn’t prove its origins because they didn’t have the traceability tools. The fishers knew the tuna companies, the companies knew them, but there wasn’t sufficient verified evidence of where the tuna came from and how it was caught.
Buyers can now be certain that Jafar’s tuna is safe to eat
Jafar still continues to go out fishing just as before, but his trip and catch are now much more visible. This is where the value is. Once his tuna catch is received at the processing plant, that specific sourcing information is recorded through Trace Tales, a software developed by MDPI and USAID OCEANS.
The fish is then processed and tagged with a QR Code label which contains details about when, where, and how the fish was caught, as well as who caught it. That information is stored in the cloud and enters a secure blockchain. Afterwards, a laboratory takes samples to confirm that the tuna is safe to eat, and this data is also uploaded to the blockchain. This in turn makes details about Jafar’s fish instantly available to restaurants and retailers in the United States.
Watch Jafar’s story here: FROM OCEAN TO TABLE: Your Food. Brought To You By Blockchain
But that’s not the end of it. Jafar’s fish are then taken to the finishing plant for final processing and preparation before being shipped to market. Every single piece is tracked right the way through to the consumers by connecting TraceTales data into blockchain. The actual people who end up buying and eating his tuna – in places like New York, Washington and Los Angeles – can now learn that it was Jafar who caught their tuna, and whereabouts in Indonesia it came from.
Jafar’s family’s future is a lot more secure
Essentially, this is because of the value of traceability in meeting import regulations and market requirements, as well as in differentiating his catch in the marketplace. Jafar is very proud to be a fisherman, but fishing is a difficult and sometimes dangerous way to make a living. Now though, blockchain is helping him and his neighbours to maintain their fishing future by securing access to the more lucrative export market. Through traceability (including blockchain), they are now much better placed to continue to catch Indonesian yellowfin for many generations to come.
Jafar is proud that his story is being shared with the world
Major seafood markets like the United States and Europe want transparency, traceability and sustainability. Through blockchain, Jafar is now part of this landscape – making sure that handline Indonesian tuna can be enjoyed all over the world! At the same time, and looking at it from the market perspective, buyers and consumers can take great comfort in the knowledge that Jafar and other local fishers can make a sustainable living from the job that they want to do, while also preserving local culture and traditions.