Prince William unveils South Africa’s Abalobi as finalist for Earthshot Prize

22nd September 2023

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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South African community fish catch recording technology company Abalobi has been announced as one of the 15 finalists in the Earthshot Prize for its groundbreaking solution to repair and regenerate the planet.

Solving the overfishing problem and restoring fish populations requires the support of local communities who depend on fishing for their livelihoods. Abalobi uses easy-to-scale technology and works with small fishing communities to record their catch data to ensure a fair and improved livelihood from sustainable fishing.

The UK's Prince William launched Earthshot in 2020 as an environmental prize to celebrate and champion the work of innovators focused on solving the world's most pressing global climate challenges.

Abalobi, founded by Serge Raemaekers and Nico Waldeck as a non-profit partnership between fishers and scientists, aims to protect small-scale fishing communities and nurture their ocean stewardship, while arming their customers with better information about where their seafood comes from.

The mobile application (app) connects fishers with a digital marketplace where they register their catches and log precisely how, when and where the fish originate.

For the first time, small-scale fishers have a tool to demonstrate transparently that they are fishing sustainably, and in exchange, they receive a fair price for their catch, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said.

“Abalobi's solution makes it easier for fishers, buyers and other stakeholders to monitor fish populations and prevent overfishing while securing a fair livelihood, formal recognition and improved market access for fishermen and women. Users of the app report earning up to four times more revenue than before.

“Together, thousands of fishers and whole communities are being recognised as stewards of the ocean and helping to protect her for generations to come,” the FCDO said.

Simultaneously, these fishers are amassing a wealth of data that helps build a greater understanding of some of the most pressing challenges facing our oceans and coastal communities.

With the use of Abalobi's technology, fish populations are given a chance to recover. Initially, 60% of the fish logged on the app were species classified as “of concern”. Now, more than 90% are from ecologically resilient fish stocks.

With 1 600 fishers already supported across 12 countries, the technology is easy to use and scale, requiring only a smartphone, the FCDO said.

“Coastal communities are instrumental in the fight to preserve the health of our oceans. Our technology, developed in partnership with fishing communities, is 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,” said Abalobi co-founder and MD Raemaekers.

"The Earthshot Prize nomination recognises the efforts of coastal communities in this endeavour,” he added.

The Earthshot Prize has announced 15 innovators as the finalists, representing six continents and who were chosen from more than 1 100 nominees. Finalists are eligible to receive one of five £1-million prizes that will be awarded at the third-annual Earthshot Prize awards ceremony in Singapore later this year.

The five Earthshots are simple but aspirational goals to ensure the world's communities, oceans and ecosystems can thrive in harmony for generations to come. The goals are protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world and, fix our climate.

“HRH Prince William and the Earthshot Prize are recognising the remarkable work of Abalobi's commitment to preserving healthy oceans and its leadership on climate issues. Abalobi embodies the innovative spirit and dedication to the conservation of our environment of so many in South Africa,” British High Commissioner to South Africa Antony Phillipson said.

In addition to their eligibility for the £1 million prize, all the finalists will receive mentorship, resources and technical support from The Earthshot Prize Fellowship Programme, which is a year-long programme for each cohort of 15 Finalists to accelerate the growth of their groundbreaking solutions.

The support includes access to the Earthshot Prize’s robust network of influential businesses, investors, and climate experts, including The Earthshot Prize’s Global Alliance of Partners, which is comprised of some of the world’s largest businesses, donors, investors and environmental organisations committed to climate action, the FCDO added.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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