Share on Social Media

Pioneering a positive spiral in the seafood industry

An interview with Adeline Caffin, Project Manager at Tilkal, Sebastien Gaïde, co-founder and Technical Director at Tilkal, and Arnaud Thevenard, Project Manager at Page Up

A major focus of the SEA2SEE project is the development of an end-to-end blockchain-based traceability platform that could be applied throughout the seafood value chain. This is a complex process that entails understanding of the various use cases requirements, the rationale behind the flow of information as well as consumer behavior in terms of barriers and drivers to the consumption of sustainably fished or farmed seafood products.

To get a glimpse into the progress of the technological solutions design, our technology partners invited us backstage to tell us more about this challenging and cooperative endeavor. They shared about the current seafood industry needs, the crucial role of SEA2SEE in overcoming existing hurdles and the development of the traceability tools within the project.

Page Up: Traceability is already well developed in many sectors, such as meat products, but not necessarily for seafood. Most of the members of the consortium come from countries which seafood sectors are much affected by traceability problems, regarding both fraud and consumer understanding of seafood products. For example, we are collaborating with octopus’ fishermen from the Algarve, Portugal, who are represented by CCMAR – a research center at the University of Algarve. They are very heavily impacted by less sustainable imported products that are not from the Algarve region and that are sold under the same name and price of locally fished products.

Another example is sustainably produced aquaculture products, which benefits are little understood by consumers. Our technical partner in SEA2SEE, SmartWater Planet, is developing a traceability and management tool for these fish farms.

Tilkal: The challenge is to establish trust and communication between a group of stakeholders who are not used to exchanging or even sharing this type of data. Everyone must be able to consult this information. We needed to facilitate data collection and to be able to share information in a certified and secure way. Blockchain provides all these guarantees, so it was a natural choice!

In addition, blockchain is one of the technologies that will enable the creation of this platform and its full value lies in the fact that it is coupled with other technological components.

Tilkal: When we saw the SEA2SEE project announcement, it was a perfect match. The project was totally in line with the purpose of our traceability platform even if some specific adjustments related to the seafood sector needed to be made, such as the certifications that come with the project. Being part of this project also allows us to strengthen our position as a European leader in seafood product traceability. Working hand in hand with technological partners possessing complementary skills enables us to go even further in this traceability initiative and ensure the success of the project.

Page Up: Page Up is specialized in developing traceability solutions by integrating data collection tools in the field. Before being integrated into the blockchain, there is a whole process of acquiring, processing, and sending the data to the server and it is these stages that Page Up is handling as part of SEA2SEE.

Page Up’s role in the project is to provide specifications, or in other words, technical documents, to develop demonstration mobile applications and SDKs for data collection and connection to the SEA2SEE platform.

Tilkal: We meet up a lot, we update each other regularly and we are also guided by the official project documents. Certain aspects sometimes require us to travel to gain firsthand understanding of expectations. There are several partners involved and it is essential to communicate and coordinate well. With Page up, we each have expertise from previous projects which has simplified our collaboration.

Page Up: The collaboration of the Sea2See project stakeholders is exceptional. It is just impressive that so many European companies have joined forces to conduct a project.

Everyone is keen to learn about the business and culture of their partners and it is this awareness that enables us to work together on a joint project. The stakeholders are always happy to meet during physical meetings and the atmosphere is always very friendly. It is this human aspect that enables the SEA2SEE project to respond to the specific challenges of different countries because you need a certain open-mindedness to project yourself and understand the problems of each country.

Page Up and Tilkal complement each other in this project. Our solutions are interconnected and dependent on each other. We therefore had to work upstream to discover the specific features of each other’s tools so that we could best adapt them to our specific constraints. We then work together to design the SEA2SEE tools to best meet the project’s objectives.

Page Up: The project’s process involves identifying needs and meeting the stakeholders involved to learn about their business and propose technical solutions to address the challenges they face. This is followed by a functional and technical design phase in collaboration with the other technical partners, culminating in the drafting of specifications.

Based on these previous results, we will then develop the tools to meet the needs expressed during discussions. Finally, these tools will be presented to the consortium and we can tailor or improve the tools throughout the duration of the project.

Page Up: An initial technical specification for interconnections with Tilkal was delivered in December 2023. To date, we have developed an initial demonstration application in Portugal while further developments will soon begin to incorporate some of the improvements resulting from the latest CCMAR work.

At the same time, we have just started work on integrating the use case of fish farms in Greece with the partners from NAYS. The various parties involved are always ready to listen to our needs and we have been able to find solutions to any problems that arose.

Tilkal: We adjust as we go along, based on demonstration scenarios and discussions with the different stakeholders from the value chain. We already have solid experience in deploying traceability projects at Tilkal and we are confident that we will produce adequate solutions.

Tilkal: There is strong consumer demand for traceability of seafood products, a need to rebuild trust, particularly in the aquaculture sector and a desire to highlight producers’ sustainable practices. We hope to have a positive impact on the industry and enable consumers to make informed choices at the time of purchase.

The idea is to trigger a positive spiral and encourage as many professionals as possible to adopt cleaner, more sustainable practices, and to show this to consumers. 

Page Up: The idea is to provide a complete tool with demonstrators, to show the benefits of this approach and perhaps have a version of SEA2SEE adapted to other sectors and activities. For us, SEA2SEE is a Proof-of-Concept that could lead to the creation of a product.

Page Up: The next stages will involve identifying and integrating into the project downstream stakeholders of the product supply chain. We know how to collect data at the fishing port, but it is then necessary to ensure the traceability of the data through the various participants in the supply chain right up to the final consumer. New obstacles will certainly emerge as we progress.

On Page Up’s side, there is also the challenge of identifying where and when this first traceability code is to be embedded and ensuring that it is always in good condition throughout the value chain.

Tilkal: From a technological point of view, the first building blocks are set with a primary platform and we are now developing the data collection tools. The next stages will be to involve more people in the network and to refine each of the pilot scenarios. We are currently organizing ourselves around five pilot sites, each with its own specific characteristics. Our challenge is to eventually be able to adapt to all types of situations. There is also the challenge of transforming field data to quality information for consumers.

Find out more about the link between traceability and sustainable seafood sector transparency.

To learn more about who Tilkal and Page Up are, visit our Partners page.