Mass buy-in needed for new fish tracking technology to work

by Radio New Zealand | 16 January 2018 | News

 Republished from Radio New Zealand, 16 January 2018

The Forum Fisheries Agency’s deputy director general Wez Norris says there’s huge potential in the new digital technology being piloted to track fish.

 Tuna on the deck of a Pacific fishing vessel.

Tuna on the deck of a Pacific fishing vessel. Photo: RNZI/Giff Johnson

But Mr Norris said if the blockchain system was going to work on a fishery-wide basis, it would need commitment and collaboration from companies and governments in dozens of countries.

The system is on trial in Fiji to monitor tuna from the moment a fish is caught up until it’s bought for consumption.

It’s hoped the technology will help ensure more accountability on a global scale and combat illegal fishing practises, but Mr Norris said fish tracking is complex.

“A fish that might be caught in Solomon Islands might be transported to Fiji and it might be transported there and then marketed through a company in Singapore and then eventually end up in the US, and so all of those players need to be part of this system. It is going to take quite some time to build that level of trust and commitment.”

Wez Norris will vacate the Solomon Islands-based FFA director general role this week.