Study: The seafood business opposes efforts to catch traceable wild fish.

Fish monsters are opposing the push to utilize innovation to follow wild fish and tidy up the business as it might nibble into their benefits, a Monash College report uncovers.

According to an article that was published in the journal Technology in Society, a monopoly of large seafood wholesalers and fish markets is reluctant to use traceability technologies in order to avoid having their supply chain practices more closely scrutinized.

The use of digital technologies, such as blockchain, according to lead researcher Dr. Benjamin Thompson, would reveal more information about where and how seafood is caught, as well as its journey from ocean to plate, which would improve the seafood supply chain’s integrity and sustainability.

Dr. Thompson stated, “The origin of the majority of seafood is untraceable—meaning it may have been caught illegally or unsustainably, and this poses a significant risk to marine biodiversity and the seafood industry’s sustainability.”

“The sustainability of the seafood industry and the protection of marine biodiversity are seriously jeopardized by the fact that most seafood has an unidentified origin, meaning it may have been caught illegally or unsustainable.”

Lead researcher Dr. Benjamin Thompson

According to Dr. Thompson, the research made it abundantly clear that a powerful group of actors at the center of the supply chain want to keep trade, price, and product information confidential.

He stated that this oligopoly lessens the power of fishermen, who are forced to accept wholesaler-set prices rather than setting their own prices based on market demand and availability.

The study found that non-wholesalers, including some chefs, suspected wholesalers of mislabeling and engaging in food fraud, despite the fact that Australian fisheries are considered to be managed sustainably.

Dr. Thompson stated, “The research suggests that this oligopoly deliberately reduces transparency and traceability to conceal unethical and unsustainable behavior.”

“However, those who want to see improved practices, like fishers and seafood restaurant owners, are reluctant to embrace blockchain platforms themselves because they anticipate a backlash from the wholesalers on whom their sales and procurement currently depend.”

The review zeroed in on the Victorian and NSW markets and involved 24 examination interviews with those profoundly implanted inside Australia’s fishery, from fishers and hydroponics organizations to fish eateries and controllers.

More information: Benjamin S. Thompson et al, Blocking blockchain: Examining the social, cultural, and institutional factors causing innovation resistance to digital technology in seafood supply chains, Technology in Society (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.techsoc.2023.102235

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