Norwegian seafood producers turn to blockchain for sustainable seafood

NORWAY – Sjømatbedriftene, the Norwegian Seafood Association has partnered with technology companies, Atea and IBM in a new cross-industry collaboration to use blockchain technology to provide fully traceable seafood products.

The partnership will share supply chain data throughout Norway’s seafood industry with an aim of providing consumers with safer, better and sustainably sourced seafood.

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The collaboration will see Norwegian seafood companies put data onto the network to cultivate easier monitoring of where fish is sourced, growing and storage conditions of seafood while at the same time contributing to reduction of food waste.

Robert Eriksson, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Association, notes that the technology will be of great significance going forward and that it will increase the competitive edge of the industry.

Markedly, while the country is globally for its position in the seafood industry, having exported more than 2.7 million tons of seafood in 2019, Eriksson highlighted that Norway “still does not have the ability to trace where the fish came from, how it was grown or how it was stored.”

“This creates the potential for fraud and food waste. Blockchain can help eliminate these problems with a transparent, accountable record of where each fish came from.

“We believe that this is only the start of something that will mean a great deal for the industry by creating more sustainable food production, which in turn will increase the return for producers,” he said.

According to IBM, blockchain technology can help seafood producers create a “single version of the truth” about supply chain events, allowing consumers to trace their seafood products directly back to the source and enabling producers to tell stories about the products, where they come from, and how to prepare them.

The technology innovator explains that private blockchain network records data about catch location and time, supply chain events like shipping updates and customs clearance, and even temperature, which can then be shared with permissioned parties.

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The company noted that the new blockchain-based network will allow customers in-store to know the fjord where the fish is from, when it was fished, the feed it has eaten and whether the facility uses sustainable methods.

In addition, customs agencies will be able to more easily access data about volume and location of shipments to expedite customs clearance, the partners said adding that sharing all this information across the supply chain will also allow seafood producers who invest in quality to charge a premium therefore increasing the pay of those depending on the seafood industry.

“The Norwegian seafood industry exports more than $800 million worth of fish a year, making this an incredible opportunity to improve the quality of the products Norway shares with the world,” says Steinar Sønsteby, CEO of Atea ASA.

“While this specific application of the technology will be used in the seafood industry, we feel it has great potential in other prominent Nordic industries such as agriculture and retail.  Working through the Atea Innovation Center, we will help network members innovate using the platform and drive new efficiencies.”

Espen Braathe, IBM Food Trust Europe said that the partnership will leverage IBM technological capabilities; IBM Blockchain Transparent Supply IoT and AI as well as Atea’s local know-how and capabilities to build a sustainable Norwegian seafood industry.

“Blockchain is about enhancing flexibility and transparency, and IBM Blockchain Transparent Supply provides just that to clients who are interested in rapidly launching their own blockchain network with ecosystem partners, and using their own branding,” said IBM Food Trust General Manager Raj Rao.

“This powerful technology gives network members the option to develop their own governance and determine how and what information is shared.”

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