Thai Union piloting digital traceability program


Thai Union Group has launched a pilot program to test scalable platforms for electronic catch data and traceability (eCDT) systems, utilizing mobile applications and satellite connectivity to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The move, part of its ‘SeaChange’ sustainability strategy, aims to fight IUU fishing from the point of catch; promote worker voices at sea; and demonstrate fair labor compliance in Thai fisheries.

Thai Union anticipates this initiative will help to develop efficiencies around catch reporting, traceability, business communications and operations management, it said.

The program seeks to demonstrate true electronic end-to-end traceability and supply chain management with links to markets such as the US and EU, “which are concerned with IUU and labor issues in fisheries”.

The current paper-based nature of traceability systems means the potential for errors is high, said Thai Union. In response it implemented this digital traceability program, serving as a cross-sectoral initiative between Thai Union and other industry and government groups, including the US Agency for International Development’s Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans).

“The program’s first phase will look at vessel to support in the supply chain and deliver a pragmatic solution for connectivity at sea, along with the development of mobile applications that enable crew communications and trip-log reporting,” said Darian McBain, Thai Union’s global director of sustainable development.

Thai Union has installed Inmarsat’s “Fleet One” terminals on fishing vessels, while crew members, captains and fleet owners have been trained on “Fish Talk” chat applications developed by Xsense that enable them to connect with families and peers around the world while at sea – an industry first for Thai fisheries — as well as eLogbook and fleet management applications.

The pilot will also seek to explore scalable options, drivers, and incentives for fisheries to transition toward electronic traceability platforms.

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