TRADE Management System is a web-based information technology (IT) system that enhances identity preservation and traceability capacity within the Papua New Guinea marine aquarium trade. It is an integrated application that links all participants in the supply chain (fishers, exporters, and importers) as well as other stakeholders such as National government agencies and local level government agencies.
Supporting the identity preservation component of the Marine Aquarium Trade in PNG is the TRADE Management System. This system provides real-time feedback and data analysis capabilities to key industry stakeholders.
Maintaining the traceability of a batch of certified marine aquarium organisms is an essential component of Certification. Key aspects of TRADE traceability are:
- Tracing organisms to a Fishery Management Area (FMA) and their qualified fishers;
- Tracking organism movement through the market chain; and
- Recording and reporting organism mortality with auto response requirements at each link of the chain.
TRADE’s effective web-based system greatly improves fishers, exporters and importers’ industry management and resource monitoring capacity through:
- Enabling the fishers to receive much quicker feedback on shipment status at the exporter and track how much money they received in payment. The system is designed to improve the timeliness and safety of payments from the exporter to the fishers;
- Providing real-time information on species TACs, species availability and numbers, FMA location allowing for better exporter order management, etc.;
- Enable PNG NFA and EcoEZ Inc. timely access to data needed to make effective and efficient industry monitoring and management decisions including such issues as setting standards on total allowable catches for fish species, licensing, etc.
Aside from the supply chain users (fishers, exporters, importers, and government authority), it is also possible for individual buyers to access the system, which would hopefully stimulate more user interest in and demand for PNG Marine Aquarium Life. The system is password-protected for data privacy purposes and data is stored on several servers for backup and analytical purposes.
Identity Preservation, or the value to track a particular product, whether it is a legally caught fish, a tree cut from an allowable area, or produce grown organically, allows for the value of this item to be preserved through the value chain, promoting both a better return on investment for the producer/harvester, but it also promotes the environment through cutting-edge use of technology as a tool.
While it is expected that this type of information exchange system will significantly benefit the marine aquarium industry, because identity preservation and appropriate technology are cutting-edge development tools, this program will have replicability potential in other industries requiring effective natural resource management.
Maintaining the traceability of marine aquarium organisms is an essential component of the SEASMART Program. Key aspects of the traceability are: 1) ensuring that organisms can be tracked from the Fishery Management Areas of their origin to the fisher and from the fisher to the export or feeder station facility, 2) documenting movement in and out of one facility (feeder station to exporter to importer) to the next, c) recording and reporting mortality at each link of the chain of custody (market chain).
An effective IT-based system improves fishers, exporters and importer’ efficiency regarding certification and business management more broadly by:
- eliminating unreliable and burdensome paper-based requirements;
- improving equity of income distribution by enabling the fishers to receive much quicker feedback on shipments;
- ensuring the timeliness of payments from the exporter to the fishers;
- providing real-time information on over fishing of certain species;
- enabling exporters to automate their inventory capability as well as other core business functions;
- assisting the participants to better analyze and seek to improve the performance of international airlines if necessary;
- reducing the costs of and time needed to collect, track, and verify the data required;
- allowing fishers, exporters and importers to organize shipments with buyers that require mixing various species from various deliveries from various fisher groups, and identifying and tracking mortality of marine aquarium organisms;
- informing potential buyers of stock availability of client exporters, importers and retailers; and
- billing buyers efficiently and cheaply while avoiding human entry mistakes and miscalculations of payments.
Effective use of information technology can play a major role in the sustainable management of the marine aquarium trade by providing identity preservation and traceability. An effective IT-based traceability system can significantly strengthen conservation and management efforts. Credible statistics depend on the viability of the data provided from the industry, especially the initial data from fishers on the numbers and kinds of organisms that are harvested.
This integrated system will:
- Enable the National Fisheries Authority to access and analyze data reliably, which is critical for such issues as setting standards on total allowable catches;
- Exporters could enter data on the number of organisms received from certified fisher groups.
- Fishers and exporters could manage payments and track mortality per species, per delivery and per fisher group upon delivery;
- Exporters could conduct in-house inventory control and management, especially tracking mortality.
- All parties could generate quarterly stock and mortality reports;
- Augment the demand-side of the certification process – e.g. now a buyer could perhaps know exactly where their fish came from and even have the name of the fisher, thus encouraging the buyer to pay an even higher price for the organism.