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Digitization Now: Future Proofing Critical For Seafood Suppliers

Increasing efficiencies or increasing value is the only way to survive the seafood industry of the future

Sedna Technologies has been future proofing the seafood supply chain over the last year. We have collected data on where the industry is headed, and what the highest value marketplaces are demanding. We have met with harvesters, exporters, importers and the biggest e-commerce giants on the planet who have indicated the future of the seafood industry. In this quick snapshot review of our year, I will discuss the current state of the lobster industry, our work, and what the largest E-commerce giants on the planet have in store for us.

Let’s start with what’s going on here at home in Nova Scotia. Prices at the dock are high and don’t show any signs of going down. This means that buyers, processors and exporters need to be strategic and adaptable to changing prices.

Live lobsters move through many different levels of the supply chain to reach your plate. Most fisheries operations are using outdated, paper trail systems. Our current seafood supply chain is riddled with inefficiencies, and must be improved to meet a growing demand. Sedna has identified non-value added areas and created a variety of software solutions to help save time and money throughout the seafood supply chain.

Technology powered quality control is how I would describe what Sedna has been able to accomplish with our clients. Our water monitoring system is helping improve quality control in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, P.E.I and Newfoundland.

Currently, most lobster pounds do manual water tests that lead to inaccurate and inconsistent readings. Monitoring water quality with our system allows operators to track water quality in real time, indicating if parameters are trending upwards or downwards. This enables our clients to operate in a preventive manner, mitigating loss before it occurs. Let’s not forget prices at the docks are 10$ a pound! This means the cost of one crate of lobsters is 1000$! It is essential that lobsters are monitored and kept in optimal conditions, to reduce loss and lower mortality rates.

Another way that Sedna is improving quality control is through our RFID traceability and inventory management system. RFID tags are placed on lobster crates at the dock. Their information can be scanned throughout their journey, identifying critical parameters such as harvester, location, weight and time.

So what does this mean? Consider how many resources are required for catching, transporting, holding, buying, selling, importing and exporting live lobsters. It is essential that we improve the quality of our handling to optimize the supply chain and lower the mortality percentage of lobsters. Sedna’s traceability ecosystem is creating new efficiencies and preventing loss in the live lobster industry, which is so essential to our economy in Atlantic Canada.

In one case, our client was experiencing dead lobsters in their pound. They had purchased lobsters dockside from harvesters, and transported them to their holding facilities. Within a matter of days, some of the lobsters were dying. With our RFID traceability, the tags were scanned and the product was traced back to a specific harvester within seconds. Traditionally, the mortality of a lobster cannot be traced and a loss is simply accepted. Because of our technology, the core issue was identified and acted on, as new standard operating procedures were created to alleviate future problems.

A hot topic in the seafood industry is China’s growing demand for all varieties of seafood. But what does that mean for companies here in Nova Scotia? To get an idea, my co-founder, Sheamus Macdonald and I met with one of the biggest companies on the planet.

Chinese e-commerce giant Ali-baba is allowing Asia to order anything online, but they aren’t stopping there… Ali-baba has launched a high end chain of grocery stores which makes Whole Foods look like a small convenience store.

Take a tour of a Hema Supermarket and experience ‘New Retail”

At Hema you can buy live seafood products from all over the world. You not only have access to them, you can get the products delivered directly to your front door.

During a recent visit to Halifax to meet and inform companies of their business model, Hema requested to meet with Sedna Technologies specifically. During this meeting there were many topics discussed, ranging anywhere from how our technology works, to lobster drone delivery. The main takeaway from the meeting is that the future of seafood isn’t coming, it’s here now. Hema has strict requirements coming down the pipeline and suppliers are going to have to prove product freshness and quality of holding conditions. It will enforce standards of providing data on origin and amount of time product has been held.

In addition to Hema, Sedna has been approached by a larger importer who is requiring all their live lobster suppliers to operate their facilities with Sedna Water quality sensors.

Both these examples combined are driving the point home, if seafood companies want to compete in the modern day market place, they need Sedna Technologies.

The future of seafood isn’t coming, it is here now.
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