GoTrace tracks shipment of Southern Rock Lobsters using blockchain

Public blockchain track and trace application GoTrace uses tamper-evident smart tags to track lobsters to their plated destination.

More and more fisheries suppliers are starting to use blockchain-based technology not only to guarantee the origin of the fish in transit but also to track the shipment throughout the entire supply chain to its destination.

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Seafood tracing seems to be a perfect case for blockchain technology. IBM has worked with Norwegian seafood producers to provide traceable products, and SeafoodChain provides transparency for its seafood products. There is even a business case for traceability in plastics recycling.

Now Melbourne-based technology start-up Two Hands has proved that it can track and trace ethically harvested and authentic seafood from producer to plate. Its Two Hands digital marketplace connects fishers directly to consumers and restaurants eliminating middlemen and reinventing the seafood supply chain.

Southern Rock Lobster fisheries contribute over $200 million in landed seafood value to the Australian economy each year. Of this, China takes more than 93% of Australia's total lobster harvest and more than 95% of the respective product value.

Supply chain inefficiencies cause Southern Rock Lobsters to be handled upward of 10 times. Each time a lobster is handled it releases stress hormones that affect its quality.

The shipment of tracked Southern Rock Lobsters originated in Melbourne on Thursday, Oct. 22 and arrived in Shanghai, China on Friday, Oct. 23, where it was served on Saturday evening during a wedding banquet at the JW Marriott Hotel in Changfeng Park, Shanghai.

Each lobster purchased through the GoTrace marketplace has a unique, tamper-evident Smart Tag, which is used as a passport and tracked via GoTrace SaaS software. After the lobster shipment was purchased, a travel itinerary for the product is created and a record created on the app.

As the lobsters travel through the supply chain, its itinerary is validated using the app, so that chefs and consumers can verify that their food or product is authentic.

Two Hands originally built its distributed ledger track and trace MVP solution on Hyperledger Fabric, hosted by the Linux Foundation, and in May 2020 transitioned to a private implementation on GoChain's public blockchain.

If one type of fish species is overfished, it will take years to replenish stocks. Unethical fishing methods can inadvertently capture more than the intended which results in waste, and illegal fishing accounts for 11 million go 26 million tons of fish each year, which is estimated to be worth $10 billion to $23 billion, according to the UN FAO.

Illegal fishing takes away from legitimate and local fishermen so it makes sense that supply chain transparency will allow for better maritime governance and is a powerful tool to combat these industry challenges.

Blockchain technology provides the immutable proof of an object -- and the record can not be changed once it is on the blockchain.

As blockchain technology matures and more proof points appear, the supply chain will move more and more processes online to eliminate fraud, and guarantee authenticity.