Back to South America and to Small Scale Fisheries / by Francisco Blaha

Every year around September - October I do a few weeks of work in Latin America. Working here is a bit of sabbatical: completely different language, fisheries, realities, problems, etc… It put my head back to the other reality of fisheries; where catching fish is part of everyday subsistence and not only a job that brings money.

Small scale long line fisherman in Chiloe Island.

Small scale long line fisherman in Chiloe Island.

Over the next week I will be working again for the Swiss Government SIPPO Programme in Peru, selecting small fishing operations for their direct contact with world buyers cutting off the middleman.

Then I’m off to Southern Chile, working for WWF Smart Fishing Initiative, supporting the development of low cost technologies that facilitate catch volumes evaluation, traceability, transport logistics and fisherman safety in the small scale hake fishery around Puerto Montt.

I always believed that Information and Communications Technology  (ICT) can greatly benefit both fisheries administrations and fishing communities alike, I have utilized information and communications equipment in a wide range of initiatives. And more and more I believe that new generation mobile phones are incredible tools that bring together in one various different “technologies”. They are at once a Personal locator beacon, a GPS navigation device, and GPS equipped camera… besides being a Communication device! And in fisheries we have use for all of them! 

Those “tools” can be easily and cheaply interfaces with google maps platforms and we then appeal to willingness of the social responsibility and sustainability sections of mobile companies to support it, so many positive advances in small scale fisheries can be acheived via win-win scenarios… the only things you need are a phone, a waterproof cover, some call credit and thinking out of the box… (I like that last bit a lot!)

Hence, I see this a good challenge and a opportunity to refresh my head and then go back to tuna, IUU and Catch documentation at the end of November.

I keep updates coming.