A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) has advocated the use of mobile solution to empower artisanal fishing communities in Africa. The CSOs- Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangement (CFFA), confederation of African Artisanal Fisheries Professional Organisations (CAOPA), West African Network of Journalists for Responsible Fisheries (REJOPRAO), Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and Slow Food- agreed at a meeting in Rome that mobile application could provide a viable means of connecting fishermen with consumers and short-circuit middle men in the fisheries value chain.
Sara Frocklin, senior policy advisor, tropical marine ecosystems and fisheries at SSNC provided an insight into the viability of mobile solution through her interactions with promoters of Abalobi, a mobile application for small-sale fisheries governance in South Africa. Abalobi helps small-scale fishers to monitor catches and know what they caught and how much it is sold for to consumers. Sara noted that Abalobi could be adopted by small-scale fishing communities around Africa.
Besides monitoring catches, Sara also explained that Abalobi could also provide a viable means of collecting data and help mainstream small-scale fishers into policy-making. For her part, Micheline Dion Somplehi, programme coordinator for CAOPA agreed that mobile applications such as Abalobi could be useful in mainstreaming small-scale fishers especially women fish processor into the fisheries value chain.
In the same vein, Beatrice Gorez of CFFA proposed a training workshop between members of CAOPA and Abalobi to acquire requisite knowledge about the mobile application and how it could be adopted by members of CAOPA.
By Emeka Umejei