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“ICTs for equitable and sustainable small-scale fisheries –
promoting international cross-learning”

Date: 8 – 10 November 2016
Venue: The Calders Hotel, Fish Hoek, Cape Town, South Africa
Hosts: Abalobi, The University of Cape Town’s Centre for ICT4D & Blue Ventures
Funded by: The Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association

Workshop facilitation: Dr Serge Raemaekers

See: Outline & Objectives | Workshop Agenda | Venue details


Following an overwhelming international response to the workshop and number of requests for attendance, we regret that space is limited and registration is now closed. However, we welcome expressions of interest for future ICT4Fisheries networking and training events. To be added to the notifications list for future events, click here:

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Small-scale fisheries (SSF), encompassing all activities along the value chain, play a critical role in food security, poverty eradication, equitable development and sustainable resource utilisation, with an increasing research and development focus on more inclusive and innovative governance systems.

With the current worldwide trends towards the increasing affordability of mobile devices, rapid development of internet connectivities, and ease of use of web and mobile applications (apps), information and communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly being used to develop sophisticated systems to address some of the world’s more pressing social and ecological challenges. This provides an exciting opportunity to engineer innovative ICTs to assist small-scale fishers and relevant stakeholders in their day-to-day operations.

Various open-source platforms, already in existence or in development, can enable fisher communities to be incorporated into information and resource networks: from fishery monitoring and maritime safety, to local development and market opportunities. Critical questions in this approach pertain to data ownership, protection of local knowledge and power imbalances related to the use of new technologies and data. Further questions lie in the scale and uptake of such technologies in regional fisheries management efforts.

We believe that ICTs, if co-designed by and for SFF, can provide an entry point into all key principles underpinning the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation’s Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries (VGSSF). Accordingly, the workshop organisers have engaged with diverse fisher groups and stakeholders who are developing open-source apps and have expressed interest in engaging in broader, international cross-learning and collaboration.

The aims of this international workshop will be to:

  • bring together fisher groups, fisher leaders, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academics and other stakeholders with experience in the use of fisher-driven ICTs, to promote networking at international, national and regional level
  • build an understanding of the contribution that ICTs can make towards empowering SSF communities, enabling them to secure their human rights, share local ecological knowledge and ensure the co-production of new knowledge towards enhanced sustainability of marine resources
  • identify the right processes whereby fisher-driven mobile apps can contribute towards transparency, equity, sustainability and accountability
  • facilitate the sharing of knowledge on best practices in supporting the development of free or low-cost apps that can assist with the implementation of the FAO VGSSF
  • develop best practice guidelines for supporting the development of apps for fisher knowledge and data capture, data use, safety-at-sea, communication, and market-related needs
  • find practical ways to pool strengths and experiences and thereby foster collaboration, with specific focus on the need for integration of various apps, their ease of use, sustainability and accessibility across the globe.

Demonstrations and presentations will be followed by group work and discussions centred around the core VGSFF principles. Outputs will include, inter alia, a workshop report, short Best Practice Guidelines for ICT4Fisheries linked to the VGSSF, potentially a collaborative programme and funding proposal for joint work and exchanges, and a website portal linking various ICT4Fisheries initiatives for ease of access.

See the detailed workshop agenda below.


The workshop will be held at The Calders Hotel, Fish Hoek, Southern Peninsula, Cape Town, South Africa:


The workshop will commence on Tuesday 8 November 2016 and conclude on Thursday 10 November, with registration at the workshop venue from 18h30 onwards on Monday 7 November 2016. Click on the tabs below to access the agenda per day.

Monday 9 November 2016
18h30 onwards: Registration at The Calders Hotel, Fish Hoek, Southern Peninsula, Cape Town

Tuesday 8 November 2016
08h30 – 09h00: Registration (continued) at The Calders Hotel, Fish Hoek, Southern Peninsula, Cape Town
Tuesday 8 November 2016

08h30 – 09h00: Registration (Continued)

09h00 – 09h20: Welcome & Opening of the Workshop

09h20 – 09h40: Agenda & Proceedings

    • Overview of delegates
    • Workshop logistics
    • Delegate feedback: Key issues & challenges
    • Running lists for discussion topics
    • Introduction: Graphic Harvest

09h40 – 10h15: Introduction & Sharing Session

10h15 – 11h00: UN-FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (VGSSF)

    Background to the VGSSF: Main approaches & key themes, focus on implementation challenges & approaches

11h00 – 11h15: Morning Tea

11h15 – 11h45: ICT4Fisheries as entry points and tools to address the VGSSF Principles & Themes

11h45 – 12h45: Tech Sharing – Knowledge Café Methodology (Part I)

    Demonstration groups to test available ICT tools. Key questions to guide discussions:

    • How does the ICT link to your key challenges?
    • How applicable is this to your fishery and what would be the main points to consider?
    • How does/can this ICT empower fishers/fishing communities?
    • What is the main VGSSF entry point that this ICT tries to address?

12h45 – 13h00: Early Insights

13h00 – 14h00: Lunch

14h00 – 14h10: Energiser

14h10 – 15h30: Tech Sharing – Knowledge Café Methodology (Part II)

    ICT tool demonstation groups (continued)

15h30 – 15h45: Afternoon Tea

15h45 – 17h00: Plenary Feedback (Key Lessons Learnt from Day One)

17h00 – 17h30: Wrap up, Recap & Forecast for Day Two

Wednesday 9 November 2016

09h00 – 09h45: Summary of the Previous Day’s Proceedings

09h45 – 11h00: Seeking Solutions: How can technology offer solutions to some of the challenges faced by small-scale fishers and in working in small-scale fisheries (Knowledge Café Methodology)

    • Access to tech & tech support
    • Literacy
    • Power and benefits (short- and long-term)
    • Trust & legitimacy
    • Scaling solutions
    • Other challenges in working with SSF communities

11h00 – 11h15: Morning Tea

11h15 – 12h00: Seeking Solutions (Continued): Feedback on Lessons Learnt & Best Practices

12h00 – 13h00: Technology: UX, Ownership, Sustainability & Open Source Software

    Facilitated session to understand and discuss:

    • Tech architecture
    • Development needs
    • Costs & maintenance
    • Availability of open source platforms & integrations
    • Key lessons & practices

13h00 – 14h00: Lunch & Group Photograph

14h00 – 14h45: How do VGSSF Principles Relate to ICT4D?

    Facilitated session to discuss the following ICT4D principles within the VGSSF ambit:

    • Co-design
    • Co-creation
    • Open data
    • Transdisciplinarity

14h45 – 15h30: Themed Group Work (Knowledge Café Methodology)

    How could a co-designed ICT4D process & an ICT tool address:

    • Climate change & safety at sea
    • Coastal development & spatial issues
    • Illegal fishing
    • Gender equity
    • Market upgrading, access & needs
    • Supplementary livelihoods

15h30 – 15h45: Afternoon Tea

15h45 – 16h30: Themed Group Work (Continued) & Plenary Feedback

16h30 – 17h00: Overview of Graphic Harvest

17h00 – 17h30: Wrap up & Recap of Day Two

Thursday 10 November 2016

09h00 – 09h30: Summary of the Previous Day’s Proceedings

    • Discussion on publication of best practice brief from the workshop

09h30 – 10h15: Open Discussion: Management & Policy Recommendations on:

    • Creating regional & national platforms with different ICT applications
    • Assisting large fisher networks
    • Mainstreaming fisher-supported ICT applications into the operational programmes of national fisheries departments & policies

10h15 – 11h00: Opportunity to Stimulate New Partnerships (Speed-dating Methodology)

11h00 – 11h15: Morning Tea

11h15 – 13h00: Opportunity to Stimulate New Partnerships (Continued)

13h00 – 13h45: Lunch

13h45 – 15h00: The Way Forward: Towards a Collaborative ICT4Fisheries Network

    • Plans for a network portal & follow-on workshop: What to include, & which portals to link?
    • Which ICTs & initiatives were not addressed in the scope of this workshop?

15h30: Closing Remarks & Feedback Forms

15h45: Afternoon Tea & Departure

— End of Workshop —