There is a new citizen app that enables small-scale fishermen to report the illegal activities of trawlers; this will help to prevent further disaster. Small-scale fishing is one of the major means of livelihood in West Africa.
In West Africa, this business has provided several families food and income source. However, small-scale fishing could be at great risk from commercial-scale illegal trawling operations. The illegal activities of trawlers have been depleting many of the “people’s fish” species.
Strict laws are being adopted to prevent trawlers from gaining access to shallow waters where local fishermen work and where fish species live. However, these laws are often violated, with almost 37% of the annual catch being hauled in unlawfully.
This new citizen app which is also known as Dase was developed by the nonprofit Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF). The app allows small-scale fishermen to report trawlers directly to Ghana’s Fisheries Commission using their smartphone.
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The development of this app was funded by the EU delegation to Ghana as a process to restore sustainable fish stocks to the country. The Guardian reported an instance whereby a trawler was spotted carrying out illegal activities within the six-mile exclusion zone meant for small-catch fishermen.
With the use of the camera on a smartphone, the identity plate of the boat was snapped and the operation was videotaped. To prevent any form of bribery from occurring, the records are filed away somewhere and the evidence is immediately sent to a database co-managed by the EJF.
More than 100 small-catch fishermen have been able to download the app in communities along Ghana’s 350-mile coastline, to ensure that trawlers are been tracked at all times.