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Sustainability-in-Tech : New Apps Tackle World’s Fishing Sustainability

With the world facing challenges like tackling overfishing while trying to support those in local communities who rely on fishing for a living, a South Africa-based company has developed apps to address both issues and more.

What Are The Issues? 

Today’s ocean and coastal communities are now threatened by rising temperatures, overfishing and biodiversity loss. Add to this a huge rise in global demand for fish supply and you get overfishing. In fact, with 30 per cent of fisheries are currently overexploited and 60 per cent are fully utilised, the scale and nature of some serious issues around fishing soon become painfully clear.

However, to fully understand the scope of the problem so that it can be effectively tackled, governments and marine scientists first need access to current, accurate, critical data about the origin of fish catches. To help tackle the overfishing problem and restore fish populations, they also require the support of local communities who depend on fishing for their livelihoods.

ABALOBI 

ABALOBI is a hybrid social enterprise, public non-profit technology initiative with ideas and technology to tackle these issues. ABALOBI’s technology is designed specifically to support sustainable fishing practices, empower small-scale fishers, and ensure traceability and transparency within the seafood supply chain. Its platform (designed around 3 apps) has been developed to benefit coastal communities by enhancing their livelihoods for social, economic, and ecological sustainability as well as preserving marine ecosystems (from the threat of overfishing). The apps also help ensure traceability and transparency within the seafood supply chain.

What Are The Three Apps & How Do They Help? 

The 3 apps that feed into the ABALOBI’s fishing sustainability platform are:

1. ABALOBI Fisher. This app is designed for small-scale fishers to log catches and manage their activities, such as recording catch data, tracking efforts, managing finances, and getting weather updates. This helps with resource management, operational efficiency, and safety. This app has been designed to enhance sustainability through accurate data logging, empower fishermen with better management tools, and to improves safety at sea.

2. ABALOBI Marketplace. Among its many features, this app essentially enables direct sales of seafood between fishermen and buyers. For example, fishermen can list catches for direct sale, manage orders, and access market prices. It also ensures full traceability from catch to consumer.

In terms of benefits, this marketplace app provides market access and fair pricing for fishermen, enhances transparency and trust in the supply chain, and can support fair compensation and improved livelihoods for fishers.

3. ABALOBI Monitor. This app provides a means for data collection by researchers and fisheries managers. For example, it collects data on fish stocks and socio-economic conditions, conducts surveys, and offers analytical tools for generating reports.

Being able to access this valuable and accurate data could help support sustainable resource management, inform research and policy decisions, and engage communities to address their needs and promote resilience.

Collectively therefore, these apps and the platform can empower small-scale fishermen, promote sustainable practices, and ensure supply chain transparency.

Well Received 

ABALOBI’s technology has been well received and the company was a finalist for last year’s Earthshot Prize, the global environmental award designed to incentivise solutions to the planet’s greatest environmental challenges.

At the time, Serge Raemaekers, Co-Founder and Managing Director of ABALOBI, said of his company’s technology: “Coastal communities are instrumental in the fight to preserve the health of our oceans. Our technology, developed in partnership with fishing communities, is both easy to use and can be adopted at scale, meaning responsible small-scale fishers across the globe can be appreciated as stewards of the ocean”. 

What Does This Mean For Your Organisation?

The development of technology like ABALOBI’s apps shows how innovative tech-based solutions can address significant global challenges and offer benefits across many industries. For UK businesses, this highlights the potential of apps to gather substantial amounts of accurate data and facilitate connections between diverse stakeholders, such as buyers and sellers or scientists and policymakers.

In ABALOBI’s case, its apparent success in developing technology to promote sustainable fishing practices and enhance the livelihoods of coastal communities illustrates how technology can drive sustainability and transparency, and improve lives. Similar approaches can be applied in different sectors, enabling businesses to optimise resource management, improve operational efficiency, and meet consumer demands for ethical practices.

Also, the ability of ABALOBI’s apps to provide real-time data and insights highlights the importance of accurate information in making informed decisions. Businesses can leverage such data to enhance their supply chains, ensure fair pricing, and build trust with customers and partners.

While technology can play a vital role in tackling tough challenges, it’s often not a standalone solution. Addressing complex issues like overfishing, for example, requires a multifaceted approach, including regulatory support, community engagement, and educational initiatives. For example, enforcing sustainable practices, raising awareness about environmental impacts, and supporting local communities are essential complementary measures.

ABALOBI appears to have developed a technology-based solution to help tackle a very real and pressing global food sustainability issue. For businesses generally, however, it provides an example of how the targeted incorporation of technology into a business strategy can help find workable solutions to problems, improve transparency, and foster resilience. Although ABALOBI is a non-profit initiative, it still serves as an example to other businesses and organisations of how technology can contribute to global sustainability efforts while enhancing their own operations and reputation.