Using Cryptocurrency To Fight Illegal Fishing

Is Cryptocurrency the solution to illegal fishing that we've all been waiting for?

About 4.5 million fishing vessels traverse the seas, hauling up more than 100 million tonnes of seafood each year. But about 89 percent of this bounty comes from emerging markets in countries that collect only the most basic data on catch quantities and species. That fact haunts Jayson Berryhill: “So much of our seafood—we have no idea where it’s coming from.” This dearth of data undermines supply chain transparency, which is how 30 million tonnes of illegal and unreported fish go missing each year. It also means information is lacking on other crucial issues, such as the carbon footprint of different fisheries.

But what if you could plug that data gap with the help of the people who actually catch the fish? Berryhill and his colleagues at Eachmile Technologies—a company developing traceability technologies for agricultural and fisheries supply chains—are designing a computational system to do just that. Called Fishcoin, the company is creating a new cryptocurrency designed to encourage fishers to share information about their catch by rewarding them with mobile phone credit, a valuable commodity for fishers who spend long periods away from home.

Photo: Yan Xiong/Unsplash

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