Develop a Mobile App to Improve Small-Scale Fisheries – Giving Fishers a Voice
Posted by Cynthia Mayoral | n/a, Mozambique
Up to 80% of the world’s fisheries lack the necessary data for traditional fisheries stock assessments to inform management decisions. However, more than 200 million people depend on small-scale fisheries for their livelihoods, many of whom live in the developing tropics and rely on the health of these unassessed fisheries. Often managed with little or no scientific guidance, these fisheries stand to gain significant biological, social, and economic benefits with improved assessment and management. Moving forward, solutions are needed for collecting small-scale fisheries data and connecting these data to science-driven management. Currently, many different tools exist or are being developed to address parts of this problem, but they lack a cohesive platform to collect, store and analyze information in a streamlined fashion to improve small-scale fisheries management. Further, even as the technology solutions continue to evolve, a key challenge remains in how to attract adoption and incentivize sustained use. Systems need to provide tangible benefits for users to continue engagement in data collection.
We will solve this problem by working with leaders in the tech industry to develop a mobile fisheries data collection app, and top fisheries scientists to integrate cutting-edge data-limited assessment methodologies into the platform. Upon determining the health of the fishery using data collected by community fishers, the app would deliver simple and sound adaptive management guidance to managers and stakeholders, effectively bridging the gap between science and application. The app would also be embedded with features that would incentivize fishers to adopt the platform and sustain their participation in data collection. As an integrated platform, the app will pave the way forward for improved fisheries data collection, assessment, and management in these communities.
This app would build off an existing “Version 1.0” platform that is currently being implemented in Honduras and Belize: (http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/09/new-app-gives-fishers-a-voice/). The fisheries of Mozambique provide a ripe opportunity for rolling out this expanded and integrated solution. With Africa's 4th largest coastline, 50% of the country’s animal protein comes from fish and 85% of the country's fish are caught by small-scale fishers. Rare, the World Bank, and the Mozambican Ministry of Fisheries Institute for the Development of Small-Scale Fisheries have formed a partnership to improve the country’s fisheries management infrastructure and are keen to apply new technologies. The partnership is currently working in 6 communities along the coastline where we would deploy the app during Phase One of this work. The technology could then be scaled to other communities throughout Mozambique as well as other developing countries throughout the world.