A FREE smartphone app to help traditional fishers monitor their catches has burgeoned into a suite of products for use along the country’s small-scale fisheries value chain. Abalobi — named for the isiXhosa phrase abalobi bentlanzi meaning "fishers" — initially aimed to empower traditional fishers with data about their catches. The application has been produced by academics at the University of Cape Town, a unit in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheriesthe in conjunction with the fishers. Historically, the government refused to acknowledge the existence of the small-scale fisheries sector, with dire implications for about 30,000 traditional fishers along SA’s bountiful coastline. Living marine resources are allocated through permits, but traditionally, only three groups were recognised: commercial, recreational and subsistence fishers. Traditional or artisanal fishers straddle commercial and subsistence fishing: they make their living from marine resources, but are no...

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