Innovative blockchain traceability technology and stakeholders’ engagement strategy for boosting sustainable seafood visibility, social acceptance and consumption in Europe.
The Horizon Europe SEA2SEE project comes to fill in existing seafood traceability gaps through the development of an innovative blockchain-based platform, while raising awareness of consumers on responsible seafood consumption of fished and farmed products.
SEA2SEE project is co-funded by the European Union through the Horizon Europe framework and has received contributions from 14 organizations across 6 European countries, securing a total budget of over 5 million euros.
Throughout the project duration (2021-2026), three pilots will be created in Spain, Greece and Portugal to track fishery and aquaculture products. Additionally, traceability pilot tests will be conducted on imported products from Ecuador and Peru.
Within the project, the involvement of producers, consumers and other groups of stakeholders along the seafood value chain is crucial, as we aim to listen to their needs and expectations to develop customised solutions to improve traceability in this sector.
As the leader of WP2 in the SEA2SEE Project, SUBMON is responsible for developing and executing the Consumer Engagement Strategy. This Strategy aims to increase awareness, promote seafood literacy, and address responsible seafood consumption and product acceptance. We have created the strategy through collective intelligence methods, incorporating innovative actions we will implement during the project’s lifetime.
Within the SEA2SEE project, we strive to close the gaps in seafood traceability by using a cutting-edge blockchain model. We aim to provide full transparency from the origin to the end consumers, ultimately increasing trust and social acceptance of sustainable seafood and aquaculture products.
Within the project dimensions, several goals have been identified:
Collective Intelligence Process to identify barriers to responsible seafood consumption
1. Consumer survey
The first action implemented to develop the Consumer Engagement Strategy was the development of a survey focused on end consumers, who play a crucial role in the seafood supply chain. Understanding their needs and consumption trends is vital, so we developed a survey in collaboration with Ethic Ocean, to collect perceptions and ideas on what are the barriers to responsible seafood consumption and product acceptance.
Two main questions were addressing the barriers to responsible seafood consumption:
a) As a consumer, what do you think is lacking for achieving sustainable seafood consumption (both wild-captured and farmed)?
b) Based on your experience, what factors are limiting your purchasing of sustainable seafood products?
You can access the full survey here (the survey is now closed).
2. Training on the CI process
To analyse results from this survey, implemented mainly in 4 countries (France, Greece, Portugal and Spain), we applied Collective Intelligence Methods. SUBMON was responsible to train all partners involved in the 1-day multi stakeholder workshop, involving critical learning, reflection, and action, mobilising people in designing solutions.
Strategy for consumer engagement
SUBMON developed a strategy for consumer engagement. The document outlines strategies for engaging consumers in the SEA2SEE project. It aims to boost seafood awareness and responsible consumption in Europe by promoting sustainable choices. By aligning stakeholders and leveraging communication channels, it seeks to shift consumption patterns and foster sustainability commitment.
The document opens with a literature review on consumer engagement and responsible seafood consumption, summarising the main findings.
It details the use of Collective Intelligence in France, Greece, Portugal, and Spain to identify barriers to responsible seafood consumption. It comprehensively summarises the most relevant ones to develop engagement actions according to each country’s status.
Based on these results, the final section highlights planned actions for raising awareness, educational tools, and communication strategies. Ultimately, the document emphasises empowering European consumers to make responsible seafood choices and promote trust in traceability tools to protect marine ecosystems and the seafood industry’s future.
The first action to be implemented is the SEA2SEE Hackathon, being organised in partnership with CBCat’s BlockchainxODS project. The goal of this program is to encourage the adoption of blockchain technology in real-life projects by promoting a collaborative approach to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Challenge statement came from an internal discussion around the main barriers to responsible consumption and product acceptance identified through the Collective Intelligence process in the project countries.
“The SEA2SEE project will address the SDG 14- Life Below Water with the following Hackathon Challenge: “Develop a complementary tool based on blockchain technology and designed to assist consumers in making informed and responsible decisions when purchasing seafood.”
As part of the project, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will be created to educate consumers and stakeholders on responsible consumption and sustainable production practices in the seafood industry.
The MOOC will cover a wide range of topics, including fish life cycles, fishing methods, aquaculture processes, seafood traceability and guidelines for responsible purchasing and marine conservation. One of the main barriers identified in the Collective Intelligence process was in fact a lack of seafood literacy in the society, and the MOOC will provide resources to overcome this obstacle.
The primary audience for the MOOC is consumers and stakeholders in the last part of the seafood value chain, including market owners, fishmongers, chefs, restaurant owners, food bloggers and influencers, and supermarket representatives.
The course will use recorded presentations and video capsules to deliver the content, with additional support materials like summaries, infographics, and animated videos also available. The main language for presentations and materials will be English, but subtitles of the presentations and summary materials will be translated at least into Portuguese, Spanish, French, Greek.