GDST Seafood Traceability Hackathon

Crowdsourcing Solutions for Interoperable Traceability 

Building a global network of interoperable traceability systems will not be accomplished by the seafood industry alone. While it is the processors, traders and buyers who have well-defined needs and must lead the way, the technical talents to transform ideas into market-ready, affordable solutions often sit outside the seafood sector.

In February, the GDST brought together developers and seafood industry players to work out technical solutions to seafood-specific challenges. The main focus was putting together interoperable traceability systems to track seafood along global supply chains.  The challenges covered persistent traceability gaps in how data is captured, verified, and exchanged. Developers hacked tirelessly for 24 hours to deliver innovative solutions, drawing on cutting edge technology ranging from the simple android data capture applications to complex satellite imaging and of course blockchain. Find out more about the Hackathon, its challenges and participants and their solutions here.

The Bangkok Trackathon

A confluence of meetings in Bangkok on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing presented a unique opportunity to draw on a specialized pool of skills to convene, create and critique solutions to taming the chaos on seafood supply chains. 

Andrew Kennedy, IFT-GFTC introducing interoperability tools.

The GDST partnered with IFT-GFTC, WWF, USAID Oceans, GS1 US, METRO AG, Sea Delight, LLC, Avery Dennison, Culinary Collaborations, the Marine Stewardship Council, Fluree DB, and  to organize a seafood traceability hackathon, or Trackathon, with nine challenges covering five main categories —data capture, data sharing, file conversion, catch area zero knowledge proof, and Non-GS1 identifiers. All of these challenges support the dialogue’s drive to produce business-relevant guidelines for interoperable seafood traceability.

Six teams spent 24 hours with real data sets taken from industry supply chains to develop solutions which address tools and applications to capture data on fishing vessels, conceptualize feasible data sharing options and develop creative ways to define data formats that support interoperability amongst seafood traceability systems.

“Delighted to have been one of the judges at the Traceability Hackathon organized by the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability in Bangkok,” said Miodrag Mitic, Supply Chain Standards Director with the Marine Stewardship Council.

“A remarkable level of expertise”

The hackathon attracted developers and decisionmakers from the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources, technology firm Altermyth and the IdeaSpace Foundation, a Philippines-based organization.

Judges awarded first prize to the team from IdeaSpace, who produced BluePrint, an android application that allows fishers of varying scales to record fishing trip reports and photos. The app, and others like it, could be used to capture key data elements catch, landing and transshipment tracking events, content currently being defined and aligned by industry actors participating in the GDST. 

“I was amazed at the level of sophistication and attention to detail employed in each submission,” said Bubba Cook, Western and Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager with WWF. “Each participant demonstrated a remarkable level of expertise and dedication to come up with some truly innovative solutions for data capture and traceability in the seafood supply chain.”

Bubba Cook, Western and Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager with WWF

Other winners included solutions for intuitively capturing and digitizing information for small-scale fishing as well as an incentive mechanisms that support fishers collecting and sharing the data digitally. These tools work behind the scenes to generate data in an interoperable data format as defined in the GDST interoperability guidance and are blockchain-ready with smart contracts.

“The work of the GDST is inspiring on its own. The dedication for improving the safety and sustainability of our seafood is unsurpassed, as was indicated by the Seafood Trackathon they hosted in Bangkok,” said Gena Morgan of GS1 US Strategic Consultant – Corporate Development and Innovation. She continued, “In 24 hours groups of highly creative technologists came up with brilliant solutions to various challenges to solve in the seafood supply chain. What a treat to be able to witness and take part in this terrific event!” 

Gena Morgan of GS1 US Strategic Consultant – Corporate Development and Innovation

The Next Steps

The GDST will take the ideas generated during the Bangkok Trackathon and develop them further. 

GDST member and hackathon challenge owner Sea Delight, LLC has already committed to working with the winning team to complete development of the BluePrint app. The seafood producing and processing company is committed to supporting small and medium scale fishers and announced in March 2019 they would be making the COPPA app available in open source format to the seafood industry. Read more here.

IFT-GFTC has also begun working with third place winner, Louis Vichey, who created a chat bot, NEMO. This simple, but powerful tool, enables fishers to digitally record catch, landing, transshipment, and sale information and automatically generate it in EPCIS xml, the format used to support interoperability.

Union Bank of the Philippines is in discussion with Streamr, the other third place winner, that took on the challenge of incentivizing small scale fishers to provide consistent, accurate and digital data with their fish.  The incentive was access to capital, a common problem of small scale fishers in Southeast Asia. The Streamr solution is a smart contract linking small scale fishers to banks providing access to credit if the fisher shows a consistent records of accurate data provided with fish, proof of income in regular fish sales transactions.  These data assets provide banks with a basis to profile fishers on credit eligibility.