Call for Consultancy Service ToR: Interoperability assessment of traceability technologies for small-scale fisheries

13 Aug 2018

MDPI has experience in developing and trialing traceability initiatives for small-scale fisheries in recent years. This work was predominantly under two traceability projects IFITT and NWO, as well as a smaller project focused on supporting Indonesian industry to meet MSC chain of custody requirements. More recently, MDPI has been working with USAID Oceans to support the development of electronic Catch Documentation and Traceability systems for small-scale fisheries. Much work is being done on developing technology solutions for large-scale fisheries and the small-scale sector is often left behind in these developments. However, often the same requirement for compliance is applied to these small-scale fisheries, either for export requirements or for national level regulations. MDPI is specifically aiming to develop systems and support technology aimed at the small-scale sector and that are either OpenSource or low cost to be accessible to as many small-scale actors as possible. Through this approach, MDPI aims to support compliance with Legal, Regulated and Reported (LLR) activities, rather than allowing the small-scale sector to be excused or to fall under the radar. The initiatives trialed to date by MDPI include:

  • Spot Trace devices: a basic VMS device placed on vessels for one month, with a signal being emitted every hour. The aim of the Spot Trace deployment is to verify actual fishing ground location with that reported by the fishermen to enumerators
  • Time-lapse cameras: a basic time-lapse camera is deployed on vessels for one month, with a photo being recorded every five seconds (or more depending on the size of vessel). The aim of the time-lapse cameras is to verify the interactions with Endangered, Threatened and Protected species recorded by the fishermen to enumerators
  • FlyWire camera: combining the features of GPS and continuous video recording, with the same aims as Spot Trace devices and cameras
  • Supplier app: an app developed for suppliers to record all transactions they have with fishermen, from delivery of fish to the supplier to provision of ice and fuel from the supplier (Our Fish and Trafiz)
  • Pelagic Data System: similar to the Spot Trace device
  • IFISH apps: an app to replace paper-based data collection in the ports and landing sites
  • TraceTales: a processor-based digital tally system, tracing fish from receiving to packing and the treatment it has received


To date, the information recorded from these technology pilots is connected with the I-Fish port sampling database (Spot Trace and PDS) or else stored in the most suitable device (time-lapse camera footage is too large for the I-Fish database).


The TraceTales system developed by MDPI is currently in full implementation in one processor, with plans to install the system in three other locations by the end of the year. There has been much interest from other processors, wishing to install TraceTales in their plants in order to comply with national and international traceability requirements. Each new installation requires further customization of the system, to account for the different size of processor plants and the different treatments received by product in each location. MDPI currently has one developer working on the TraceTales system but is looking for how to ensure long-term development of the system through making the system OpenSource.


The next step in MDPI’s work is to integrate the data from various technologies and various chain nodes to provide complete information and data on the journey of a fish once caught in a small-scale fishery. Initial thoughts on how to achieve and implement this include blockchain technology, connecting existing technologies by API’s or using the Data Exchange (DEX) model proposed by USAID Oceans. The final system needs to take into account:

  • Data sharing agreements
  • Data security and privacy
  • Key Data Elements (KDEs)
  • Costs
  • Industry and government preferences
  • Interoperability capacity


MDPI does not propose to build a platform itself but rather to identify alternative ideas and identify appropriate way to link technologies. This may be done by creating partnerships with other organizations, learning and adopting from existing systems and or creating simple in-house solutions that allow for simple data transfer by industry users to existing systems (such as in-house ERP systems). The technologies and systems currently in use or in development were developed specifically for tuna supply chains and actors. To make these solutions applicable and scalable to other small-scale fisheries in Indonesia, some customization and development will be required.


Additionally, to ensure that the TraceTales system can be scaled efficiently across various size processors, the customization platform and long term development options for TraceTales need to be formalized. To advance the work, MDPI seeks a consultant to conduct an interoperability assessment of traceability technologies for small-scale fisheries, in addition to assessing the long-term development of the TraceTales system. The consultant will work with MDPI and its partners on the following three activities:


  • Assess current technology solutions and data collection initiatives underway within MDPI-supported company supply chains and pilot projects
  • Assess what adjustments need to be made to existing traceability pilots for them to be scaled up across fisheries
  • Make recommendations on the best approach for creating integration of data, interoperability, between supply chain nodes, including financing options for industry to engage in using these solutions. The technology options and the financing of these need to take the limitations of the small-scale sector into account
  • Assess the TraceTales system and determine what basic platform is required to allow easy customization in interested processor plants.
  • Assess the long-term development options and requirements for TraceTales, be it an OpenSource system or another option
  • Attend and contribute to the Data Exchange workshop organized by USAID OCEANS


The outcome of this consultancy work is a report providing recommendations on the best approaches for integrating data across supply chain nodes and between technology pilots, including financing options for industry to engage in these recommendations.


The consultant will have the following qualifications:

  • Knowledge of fisheries supply chains, preferably tuna
  • Experience in process analysis
  • Previous IT work in system interoperability, data exchange and system integration
  • Experience in OpenSource systems and platform customisations


The consultant will work over a three month period to complete the aims and deliver the report and recommendations. Remuneration will be based on experience. Travel to the field, if required, will be covered according to MDPI’s travel procedures.


Please submit proposal to prior 21 August 2018