Summary Results and Lessons Learned from Testing Electronic Catch Documentation and Traceability Technologies in Vietnam

Type: Case Studies, Reports and Studies
Author: The Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development (MCD)
Date: 30 June, 2020
Subject: Catch Documentation and Traceability, Partnerships and Engagement
Country: Vietnam
Language: English

In partnership with the Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans), during late 2019 and early 2020 the Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development (MCD) conducted a site-based pilot demonstration of the application and testing of electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) technology in Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam, in cooperation with the National Department of Fisheries, the Provincial Sub-department of Fisheries, and a Vietnam-based technology company.  The eCDT application developed and tested with volunteer fishing vessels provides real-time information about the origin (point of catch) of seafood products and point of first sale/landing. Each fish caught is provided a unique, digital traceability QR code (encrypted) that is tagged to the tail of each fish throughout its voyage at sea and landing for first sale.  The traceability data associated with each tag/fish is compatible with the Vietnam national traceability system so that it complies with prevailing regulations regarding fisheries traceability.  The pilot testing results from 10 participating fishing operations indicates that the ability to effectively apply the new eCDT technology by tuna handline vessels in Binh Dinh Province was successful, and that the new technology is suitable to meet key data requirements for digitally recording relevant fisheries traceability information, including the location (geographic coordinates) where each tuna was caught, the type (species) of each tuna caught, the volume/output of the fish catch, the date and time of each fish caught, the point of landing, and information regarding the sale of each fish to its first buyer.  Tuna data captured using the eCDT technology provided real-time information to the Vietnam Department of Fisheries using a web-based server system, with transmitted data being available to import/link within the National Government’s vessel monitoring system.

This eCDT pilot testing led by MCD in Binh Dinh Province provided valuable experience and lessons learned for the national and provincial Vietnam management fisheries sector, collaboratively between the government and the private sector, particularly fishers and fishing operations.  The hope of MCD is that through the lessons learned and recommendations arising out of the eCDT pilot testing completed in partnership with USAID Oceans, this can assist Vietnam with strengthening national and provincial fisheries management efforts, modernizing and integrating these new technologies to curb illegal fishing, and helping to address concerns raised by importing countries including the United States and European Union regarding the legality and sustainability of imported seafood products.  This document outlines a summary of the results, lessons learned, and recommendations from the completed eCDT pilot demonstration that can be used to inform and guide future fisheries management and seafood traceability efforts in Vietnam and throughout Southeast Asia.