Maruha Nichiro-backed Austral Fisheries, one of Australia’s largest vertically integrated commercial fishing companies, is launching a line of shrimp in retail giant Woolworths with a new "catch to customer" sustainability function.

A limited edition of Austral's Karumba prawns will feature a QR code allowing customers to view the entire journey of the shrimp in what the company says is a large Australian retailer first.

The technology is powered by impact tech venture OpenSC's supply chain transparency platform, part of a three-year partnership between it and Austral, starting with Austral's flagship Glacier 51 brand toothfish.

For Glacier 51, OpenSC's technology is being used to verify that fishing is occurring outside of marine protected areas, where it is sustainable to do so and then trace the toothfish from catch to consumer.

This latest project, featuring Karumba shrimp, provides consumers with blockchain-verified information that the product is responsibly caught outside of closure areas.

This ensures that vulnerable habitats within Australia's Northern Prawn Fishery are protected, and enables shrimp stocks to grow and reproduce sustainably, according to the company.

Verifying, tracing and sharing are the simplified aims of OpenSC, which in September 2019 snapped up $4 million (€3.6 million) in seed funding from strategic investors and spoke to IntraFish about it.

Using its technology platform, the startup -- a venture brought together by WWF Australia and the global corporate venture, investment and incubation arm of Boston Consulting Group, BCG Digital Ventures -- is looking to build transparency around commodities currently known to have significant environmental or human rights risks within their supply chains.

Along with timber, palm oil and dairy -- with a recent partnership with global food giant Nestle -- seafood is one of those supply chains.

The platform's first seafood-sector involvement began with a commercial partnership with Austral Fisheries, "the poster child of sustainability," as OpenSC CEO Markus Mutz described it to IntraFish at the time.

Japanese seafood giant Maruha Nichiro owns a 50 percent stake in Austral Fisheries, which it bought from Spain's Pescanova in 2013. Kailis Fisheries owns the other 50 percent stake.