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SA organisation finalist in prestigious award for its tech aiding small fishing communities

The Abalobi technology allows small scale fishers to log their catch. Picture: Supplied

The Abalobi technology allows small scale fishers to log their catch. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 22, 2023


Cape Town - South African organisation Abalobi has been recognised as a finalist in the prestigious international Prince William’s Earthshot Prize 2023.

Abalobi is a finalist in the “to Revive Our Oceans” category.

The organisation uses easy-to-scale technology and works with small fishing communities to record their catches and ensure a fair and improved livelihood from sustainable fishing.

The Earthshot Prize was founded by Prince William in 2020 to discover, spotlight, and scale the most innovative climate solutions to protect and restore the planet.

The entrepreneurs and innovators selected as this year’s finalists will each be eligible for one of five £1 million (about R23m) prizes, which will be presented at the third-annual Earthshot Prize awards ceremony to be held in Singapore on November 7.

On Tuesday, Prince William unveiled the 15 inspiring global finalists for the 2023 Earthshot Prize during the Earthshot Innovation Summit in New York City.

The 15 finalists represent six continents and were chosen from more than 1 100 nominees.

Abalobi, meaning fisher in Xhosa, was founded in 2018 as a collaboration between scientists and small-scale fishers.

“It is an incredible honour to be named a finalist for the 2023 Earthshot Prize,” said Abalobi founder and director, Dr Serge Raemaekers.

“Consideration for such a prestigious award affirms for the small-scale fishers leading our programme that their efforts to protect their lifeblood – the ocean – are seen, are supported and are anything but small.

“We believe it is possible to innovate solutions that protect ocean life and livelihoods, by driving inclusive ocean conservation and rebuilding initiatives that start with conversation and collective action.”

Its Fish With A Story movement has garnered widespread recognition and support from consumers and influential chefs in South Africa, and is driving much-needed food security initiatives in impoverished coastal communities.

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

Freetown the Tree Town is another Africa-based organisation that made it as a finalist, in the category to Protect and Restore Nature.

Based in Sierra Leone, the organisation is a tree preservation grassroots movement in Sierra Leone’s capital through community stewardship and digital tools.

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Cape Argus