The ABALOBI Fisher app forecasting features save small-scale fishers time and data!

With the release of the revised ABALOBI Fisher app, small-scale fishers along the West and South coasts now have access to free, detailed weather forecasts and satellite images depicting the most recent water temperatures and marine chlorophyll levels in their fishing grounds.

One of the biggest challenges facing small-scale fishers’ today is access to accurate forecasting. Research on the ground in fishing communities has shown that fishers routinely struggle with the high data costs associated with conventional forecasting websites and apps, as well as the complexity of navigating these platforms. Excitingly, the new ABALOBI Fisher app forecasting service uses considerably less data than conventional platforms, and is tailored to the fishers’ needs for ease of use. And because small-scale fishers from the West and South coasts co-designed the forecasting features from the outset, the resulting service readily fits into their daily forecasting practices and needs.

In addition to the forecasting functionality, the satellite sea surface temperature and marine chlorophyll images from the Copernicus satellite provide fishers with further powerful tools that can help to inform quick decision making. Sea surface temperatures and chlorophyll levels influence fishing conditions and fish feeding behaviour, making these satellite images an exciting resource, which small-scale fishers have previously not had access to. It is through the collaborative efforts of the CSIR, MarCOSouth, African Union Commission, GMES & Africa, and ABALOBI that this exciting project has brought hundreds of South Africa’s small-scale fishers a tool that paves the way to their participation on an equal footing in the fourth industrial revolution, by putting free, accessible, and fisher-driven technology in the hands of the people who need it most. As the project expands, we look forward to extending the service to more communities along the South African coastline and beyond.

 

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