The National Fisheries Institute (NFI), Washington, D.C., announced plans to work with IBM’s Food Trust, a blockchain-enabled system, to begin a comprehensive seafood supply chain traceability pilot program. The work is said to be the first multi-company and seafood species effort.

“We are excited that NFI and the real seafood value chain will test IBM’s technology,” says John Connelly, president of NFI. “NFI members’ supply chains are dynamic and wide reaching, a fertile ground for this type of pilot.”

Financial support for the work comes from the Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF), McLean, Va.

“Traceability is nothing new to the seafood community, but blockchain is,” says Sean O’Scannlain, chairman of SIRF and chief executive officer of Fortune Fish & Gourmet, Bensenville, Ill. “Whether it’s farmed or wild, we will test how IBM’s Food Trust can help seafood businesses generate revenue and reduce costs, from harvest to distribution to our customers.”  

IBM’s system ensures companies can set rules about who can see the data they upload, for how long and that they maintain control of their data even after it has been uploaded to Food Trust.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to transform any industry, especially when we have multi-stakeholder environments, businesses and organizations participating,” says Raj Rao, general manager, IBM Food Trust. “Blockchain can digitize information, capture it in a decentralized system and convey it in a secure way and allows for permissioned viewing rights. We are delighted to work closely with NFI, and the seafood industry in this pioneering endeavor.”