December 9, 2019 – Blockchain technology has vast applications in multiple industries. Fishing is a prime example of an industry that is ripe for innovation and disruption.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines, Unionbank of the Philippines, and TX partnered up to build and promote Tracey, an application that uses blockchain technology for documentation and verification of fish harvests and traceability data.
The Tracey app will utilize TX’s subsidiary, the Streamr Network—an open decentralized scalable data transportation layer for its ecosystem.
According to Susan Roxas, Fisheries and Finance Lead for WWF’s Coral Triangle Program. “Small fishers in many coastal countries remain poor, despite the high-value fish they catch…”
Unfortunately, this is the reality of the industry as fishing is a seasonal trade. Peak seasons may provide abundant catch, however, there are times in a year when the supply is so low, such as spawning season.
This inherent problem makes it hard for fisherfolk to sustain themselves all year round, which is why they are compelled to seek the help of financial institutions in order to diversify their income and avoid unnecessary downtime.
But, most banks shy away from microfinancing fisherfolk due to the perceived level of risk, which is partly the reason why fishermen opt to engage in illegal methods of the trade, including dynamite fishing, which is detrimental to the environment.
If financial institutions are able to assess the fisherfolk’s risk-reward ratio and obtain a certain degree of confidence in them, then they could justify investing. But they need quantifiable data for that, which is what Tracey hopes to provide.
The data garnered from fishing can be used by the likes of UnionBank to determine the viability of providing microloans to these fishers.
How Fishermen Can Earn More
Besides the credit line, fisherfolk get to earn income from the catch data they submit, paid directly by third-parties subscribed to the Streamr Marketplace, a web-based platform where data providers can list and sell real-time data streams.
Furthermore, since Tracey implements a full traceability system that is in line with US and European standards, fisherfolk are able to sell in foreign markets—which is a lot more lucrative.
The TX team interviewed several fishers in order to educate them on the forthcoming Tracey app. They aim to pilot it around mid-2020 at the WWF-Philippines’ Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) locations in Bicol and Mindoro. If everything goes well, they will expand to all FIP sites in Southeast Asia.
This article is published on BitPinas: UnionBank, WWF PH to Use Blockchain to Track Fish