Innovation That Matters

| Photo source The Earthshot Prize

Easy-to-scale tech for recording fishing catches

Agriculture & Energy

The apps and platform provide fully traceable seafood for consumers and equitable market access for fishers

Spotted: The ocean’s health is crucial to global sustainability and development, particularly in its role as a renewable food source and provider of new economies for coastal communities. Small-scale fisheries play an essential role in providing fish and seafood, yet around 5.8 million fishermen in the world earn less than $1 per day (around €0.92).  

Today, many small-scale fisheries are operating at subsistence levels. With improved use and understanding of data and equitable access to markets, South African-based social enterprise Abalobi believes small-scale fisheries can become a thriving, sustainable component of the global economy. 

Abalobi means “fisher” in the Isixhosa language and was the name chosen by the members of the community who helped steer the creation and development of the organisation. The company works closely with fishers to co-design its suite of technology tools and training courses. 

The Abalobi Fisher app provides a digital logbook for fishers to record everything from the size and location of a catch to sales records, weather forecasts, and income and expenditure. The app supplies a secure location to store official documents digitally.  

Abalobi also aggregates – and makes public – data from its fishers to improve worldwide tracking and reporting of indicators of marine health and fish and seafood supplies. 

The online Abalobi Marketplace then connects fishers with buyers seeking fresh seafood, enabling individuals and small groups to access market prices. The platform makes it possible for fishers around the world to receive fair pay for their catches by eliminating multiple middle layers of people and organisations, all of whom would take a cut of the sales. Through its Fish With A Story programme, the company makes this low-impact and fully traceable local seafood available to consumers. 

The organisation was a 2023 Earthshot Prize finalist.

Technology is helping fishers become more efficient and responsible. Innovations spotlighted in Springwise’s database include devices that reduce bycatch and solar-powered freezers that help fishers prolong the shelf-life of their catches.

Written By: Keely Khoury




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