NZ urged to embrace new device that monitors seafood catch from sea to plate

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1 NEWS

Calls are being made for New Zealand to take up a new technology that monitors seafood catch from the sea to the plate.

The World Wildlife Fund says the technology has had a successful trial in Fiji.
Source: 1 NEWS

The World Wildlife Fund says the new device has had a successful trial in Fiji and will help make New Zealand fisheries more sustainable.

The system called the Blockchain Project uses a radio frequency device to track fish from catch to the supermarket, with GPS precision.

Tuna catch records are currently on paper and are entered into databases.

WWF New Zealand chief executive Livia Esterhazy told 1 NEWS that with the new technology "you will rest assured eating fabulous fish, knowing it has been legally fished, it's been caught sustainability and has not used slave labour".

The project has been piloted in Fiji with tuna and WWF has hailed it a success. 

I'd really encourage the Government to look earnestly at this technology "
Fisheries analyst Dr Randall Bess

Fisheries analyst Dr Randall Bess says the technology will allow more transparency in the fishing industry and it could be rolled out for all types of fishing.

"New Zealand is the superb test case for this type of roll out of technology on a national scale," Dr Bess said. 

"I'd really encourage the Government to look earnestly at this technology and I do know that some people are already looking at it."

The Ministry for Primary Industries says it is working with providers to explore new technologies including Blockchain, to increase the traceability and transparency of products and to ensure the sustainability of fish stocks. 

The next step for WWF is to get a retailer on board and while it's too soon to say what the cost would be, the organisation is confident.

"It's a reality, probably in the next five years, where you will be able to use your smartphone and scan a QR code and almost basically have an augmented reality story to tell you which boat, which fisherman, where did that fish come from and how did that voyage all the way to the can of tuna or the fresh tuna that you see in front of you," Ms Esterhazy said.

These are new technologies to be explored, as New Zealand consumers become more conscious about the story behind the food they eat.

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