A reference image of frozen shrimp. Nuevo Pescanova has teamed up with IBM to ensure traceability of its products, beginning with two key operations, shrimp fishing in Argentina and the cultivation of Vannamei shrimp in Ecuador. Photo: Nuevo Pescanova.

Shrimp giant forges new link in the blockchain

Spanish fishing and aquaculture giant Nueva Pescanova has teamed up with computing giant IBM to trace all of its seafood products on the IBM Food Trust (IFT) platform, a blockchain-based network designed to help ensure the traceability of products across the supply chain.

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The solution uses the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability’s (GDST) 1.0 standards and aligns with the United Nations Global Compact’s key actions to help achieve a healthy and productive ocean by 2030 by ensuring seafood traceability and the support to a sustainable industry.

Nueva Pescanova, which employs 10,000 people globally, is one of the world’s largest producers of Vannamei shrimp, farming in Nicaragua, Ecuador and Guatemala, and produces 2,800 tonnes of turbot a year in 900 grow-out tanks in Lugo, Spain.

It also operates a of more than 60 vessels, both freezer vessels and wet-fish trawlers, operating in the main fishing grounds of the southern hemisphere.

Key data

For the development of the IFT project, Nueva Pescanova will follow the GDST standards, which enable interoperability between seafood traceability systems ensuring that key data from each link in the value chain is collected and recorded digitally, the company said in a press release.

The standards will assist with the documentation of not only the batch and product characteristics, but also the documents that accredit permits, licences, locations and certifications that prove responsible fishing and farming practices, as well as the evidence of sustainability, and the guarantee of food safety that markets demand.

The project began with the registration and digitalisation of two key operations for Nueva Pescanova: shrimp fishing in Argentina and the cultivation of shrimp in Ecuador, which in turn will be complemented by the company’s processing and marketing activities in Spain.

From origin to table

Nueva Pescanova chief executive Ignacio González said: “We fish, grow, process and market in a sustainable manner. Through this ambitious project we want to offer our consumers all over the world rigorous and detailed information on the traceability of our seafood products, from their origin until they reach their tables. The GDST standards make this possible. Now is the time for businesses across the seafood sector to begin implementing the GDST standards.”

Javier Olaizola, head of services at IBM Spain, said: “Our platform brings together members of the entire supply chain, offering a space for the exchange and tracking of information on food products. This generates trust among users, since a digitised and permanent chain of transactions is created that cannot be modified.”

Each member of the blockchain network has an exact copy of the data, and any added information is shared across the network based on each participant’s level of permissions. In this way, producers, wholesalers and retailers can interact more efficiently, accessing data in a comprehensive and near real-time manner.