ICTs, Aquaculture and Fisheries Sector

Organised by: Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), CTA

As ACP countries strive to improve their food security, ICTs and in particular mobile applications provide the small scale fisheries sector with cost-effective tools to overcome major constraints related to governance, value chain development, resource conservation and safety at sea. mFisheries of the University of West Indies based in Trinidad and Tobago will share their experience and views on capacity development for collaborative design, development, deployment and evaluation of mobile solutions for low-income earners.

From the same region, the Caribbean Network of Fisher Folk Organizations will present how it has been fostering and supporting the use of mobile applications by its members to get timely and accurate information on marketing and weather and to improve the overall governance of the fishing sector at a moment when fish stocks are dwindling.

A case study by the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute will describe and draw lessons from the provision of real time fish market information to fisher community through convenient, fast and cheap ICTs solutions. Finally, a presentation from Malawi will show how effectively video can be used in extension work through the example of the utilisation of hyphaena crinite fruits to improve fish quality and mitigate deforestation. 

Nov 5, 15:30 - 17:00
Room: Mugesera
Stream: Emerging Innovations

Sessions Chair

Chair of the session is Terrence Compton Phillips
Programme Manager - Coastal and Marine Governance and Livelihoods, Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI)

Terrence Phillips is the manager of the Coastal and Marine Governance and Livelihoods Programme of the Caribbean Natural Resource Institute (CANARI).
Terrence joined CANARI after a distinguished career in fisheries governance and management across the Caribbean, starting with his work in the Fisheries Department in his native Guyana to recent work in the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).

View profile


The use and development of ICTs in the small scale fisheries sector in the Caribbean

CaribbeanThe Caribbean is made up of a number of small island states spread over the entire Caribbean Sea, except Guyana and Suriname which are in South America and Belize in Central America. Most of the rural and coastal communities in these states depend greatly and sometimes solely on fishing for their existence and livelihood. Our network was established to disseminate information and assist in the management of the sector in these Caribbean Community states under the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) therefore networking in the sector becomes imperative. To facilitate this process a Coordinating Unit (CU) was established. This unit which is regional in nature is made up of representatives of national fishing organisations in these respective states.Because of the high cost of communication and although most of the fisherfolk in the region might not have access to computers and being computer literate the following were established: A Yahoo Group and the CNFO Website. The Yahoo Group is open to all fisherfolk and individuals who have an interest in the sector; this group is moderated by our secretary at the moment. Members can post information on what is taking place in their respective state or items of interest on this group. The CNFO website is linked to that of the CRFM at the moment, the development of a new and independent one is taking place at this time. The CNFO executive holds their meetings on one of the computer based messengers and the opportunity is taken to engage the membership whenever a regional meeting takes place.In 2010 a pilot mFisheries project was launched in Trinidad and Tobago, at the inception the use of podcasts was the first medium that was introduced, this service was extended to provide information on marketing and weather, at the moment there are fifty fisherfolk that are engaged in this pilot project.(Concessionary rates were also negotiated with DIGICEL, one of our mobile service providers). The use and availability of cell phones is greater than that of computers and therefore this is one of the best medium to transmit information.We are currently having meetings with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and Microsoft (Trinidad and Tobago) on the development of new applications. UWI will be providing open source Android applications, while Microsoft will provide the Windows based applications. They are to provide a host of applications the first of which will be available in December 2013. The issues of governance in the fishing sector is of great importance at the moment, fish stocks aredwindling, therefore these applications will be made available not only to the fisherfolk but to the fishing communities in the region, so that information can be sent to a wider community over a short period of time.Here are some videos on mFisheries in case you have time to have a browse: The existing suite comprises several of the items on the CNFO wish list (green ticks indicate that existing functionality meets nominal requirements as is; orange indicates that refinements on existing functionality are necessary; no tick indicates that new functionality must be built):

Organization : Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations

The Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations is a non-profit regional network operating in all of the CARICOM countries. Its mission is to “Improve the quality of life for fisherfolk and develop a sustainable and profitable fishing industry through networking, representation and capacity building.” In early 2009, members of the CNFO shaped their vision and mission, advocating ecosystem-based management of fisheries resources through collaboration of national and regional fisherfolk organisations.

The network has also been engaged in regional projects, such as the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem project to restore degraded coastal habitats. Pursuing its vision, the CNFO is sharing information on fishing gear and techniques that contribute towards sustainable fisheries. It has also taken an active role, working with the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies, in advocating for the application of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.



Joslyn Lee Quay

Deputy Coordinator, Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations

Building capacity for ICT interventions in small scale fisheries - a Caribbean case

This presentation provides an account of the models, processes and relationships designed and executed to build capacity for the collaborative design, development, deployment and evaluation of mobile solutions for low income earners. It focuses on a community of small scale fisherfolk in Trinidad and Tobago and shares the insights gathered through the process of purpose-driven mobile application suite intervention. The instantiated initiative facilitated applied capacity building for multiple agents in the intervention eco-system. These agents specifically included researchers; intervention recipients; key boundary partners; donors; and national and international developmental agencies. The lessons learnt from this case study provide guidelines for the implementation of context-appropriate, development-focussed, participatory ICT interventions.

Organization : The University of the West Indies

Established in 1948, UWI is the largest and longest standing higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean. In its more than 60 years of existence, UWI has evolved from a fledgling college in the Caribbean island of Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 45,000 students, approximately 9000 graduates annually and more than 120,000 alumni. This impressive network of UWI Alumni includes one Nobel Laureate, dozens of Rhodes Scholars and more than 18 current and former Caribbean Prime Ministers and Heads of State.


Kim Mallalieu

Senior Lecturer & Leader - Communication Systems Group, The University of the West Indies

The impact of videos in reinforcing the use of hyphaena crinite fruits in improving fish quality and mitigating deforestation - a case in Malawi

Integrated fish processing techniques would help improve quality of smoked fish, add market value and reduce forest depletion along lakeshore areas. Mangochi as a major fishing district in Malawi is reeling through massive deforestation due to high demand of fuel wood for fish smoking which has impacted in reducing crop production and silting up of fish breeding grounds. Malawi College of Fisheries in partnership with Memorial University of Newfoundland of Canada implemented a Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security Project (2008 – 2011) aimed at improving fish processing techniques, community livelihoods and mitigating environmental degradation, in Chapola and Kadango beaches along Lake Malombe and Malawi respectively where trials of  assessing the practicality of combining natural wood with dry fruits of Hyphaena crinite locally known as Mgwalangwa in improving fish quality and reducing wood consumption were carried out. With a 3; 1 of natural wood to dry coconut fruits combination brown flavourly smocked fish products were produced becoming an instant preference on the market. This combination achieved a 25 percent reduction in natural wood consumption. In long term, this entailed slowing down the rate of deforestation and enhancing communities’ livelihoods through improved quality fish products, low smoking costs and conservation of coconut trees. Conducting the trials with targeted users (fish processors) achieved a 75 percent adoption rate. However, use of a video documentary titled “Kasamalidwe ndi Kakonzedwe ka Nsomba” jointly produced with resource users assisted in scaling up adoption rates. This entails that video documentaries that clearly outline steps and procedure of new innovation are of high impact to inspire value addition, promote sustainable environmental rehabilitation and income generation.   

Organization : Malawi College of Fisheries (MCF)

All fisheries training is done at Mpwepwe in Mangochi, where the Malawi College of Fisheries (MCF) is located. Its main purpose is to develop capacity, knowledge and skills by providing appropriate training programmes for the Department of Fisheries and User communities in Malawi and in the SADC region. The Malawi College of Fisheries is mandated to execute fisheries management training programmes for both user communities and the Department of Fishers. There are three main areas of focus for the courses that are provided at the college, these are User community tailored courses, Pre-service and In-service courses.


Andrew Saukani

Communications and Outreach Officer, Department of Fisheries, Malawi College of Fisheries

An ICT model for enhancing fish market information in Kenya

An innovative ICT project based on mobile phone has been piloted in Kenya’s fisheries sector, initially focusing on Lake Victoria (2009-2011) then up-scaled to the whole country (2011-2013). The project, named Enhanced Fish Market Information Service (EFMIS), was supported by the International Labour Organization in the initial phase while the EU funded its up-scaling. Currently there are preliminary considerations to up-scale to the East African/ IGAAD region. The objective of the project is to enhance fish trade, reduce poverty and achieve efficient utilization of fisheries resources by providing real time fish market information to the fisher community through a convenient, fast and cheap media. EFMIS was conceptualized by a team led by this author and implemented through the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), a government supported institution for fisheries research and development. The key collaborators are; the Department of Fisheries, the Beach Management Units, Cooperatives Societies, Women Fish Traders Associations and the Association of Fish Processors and Exporters of Kenya. The primary beneficiaries are fishers, fish processors and fish tradersThe project supports an important sector in Kenya’s economy, which produces about 130,000 MT of fish valued at about USD 120 million and earning USD 60 million from fish exports annually. Fisheries provide direct source of livelihood to over 70,000 fishers, 500,000 local fish processors and traders, 200 workers in fish processing and exporting establishments and supports many fisheries organizations, including; cooperative societies, beach management units and women fish trader associations. Besides it is a source of protein for the whole country and fish importing nations.The main output of the project is a system for generating key fish market information from about 200 fish landing sites and markets in Kenya. The information is synthesized and appropriately packaged into a form that users can access it in real time from any part of Kenya where there is mobile phone network. Fish market information is also disseminated through local radio, KMFRI website, national newspapers and monthly e-bulletin circulated to over 1000 stakeholders worldwide. The project has demonstrated that a well managed ICT-supported price information system has vast benefits for efficiency and equity in marketing. Among the outcomes are; increased awareness of market trends, transparent pricing, improved fish prices, reduced marketing costs and reduction of post-harvest losses. Key challenges include; Sustainability of the system; Developing appropriate information packages for all the different stakeholders; Maximum utilization of the service, and; Up-scaling the system to the regional level.

Organization : Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) is a State Corporation in the Ministry of Fisheries Development of the Government of Kenya. It is mandated to conduct aquatic research covering all the Kenyan waters and the corresponding riparian areas including the Kenyan's EEZ in the Indian Ocean waters. The Institute was established by an Act of Parliament (Science and Technology Act, Cap 250 of the Laws of Kenya) in 1979 and run by a Board of Management. The Institute is empowered to carry out research in Marine and Freshwater fisheries, Aquatic biology, Aquaculture, Environmental Chemistry, Ecological, Geological and Hydrological studies, as well as Chemical and Physical Oceanography.


Richard Abila

Fisheries Management Advisor, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute/Finnish Consulting Group