July 19, 2016

Harnessing technology for fishing communities

Fisheries in Taiz

SPARK has recently launched an exciting new fisheries project in Yemen’s port city of Aden,  in partnership with the For All Foundation, a local NGO. The project will support 45 artisanal fishermen by introducing modern fishing techniques to their businesses as well as  increasing their  access to finance. This will include introducing  a modern GPS fishing device to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of artisanal fishing practices and linking local businesses to microfinance institutions. Introducing modern fishing technologies and practices will improve the income of fishing communities and more importantly keep  them safe at sea.  For instance the GPS device can estimate water depths. Trainings will be given on:  how to use the new device; the basics of GPS and troubleshooting; how to replace batteries on boats and on interest rates with regards to loans

 Fishing for life

In Yemen, fisheries are one of the most important export revenues, second only to petroleum. Artisanal fishing is most common with many small fisheries surviving off Yemen’s 2,500km coastline, which runs along the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Currently, 65,000 fishermen are employed in this sector and are in turn supporting around 450,000 people.

SPARK has delivered a variety of training sessions aimed at helping fishing communities maintain and mend their boats. After each training session, fishermen were provided with a maintenance kit for their boats, as well as a safety briefing on how to attend to sudden engine failures whilst offshore.

SPARK aims to combine modern fishing techniques with traditional fishing practices and has partnered with the Sirah fisherman association in three districts (Borika, Crater and Khor Maksar). With the help of the Sirah fishermen association, who have expert knowledge of Aden’s local context, SPARK was able to identify suitable participants for the project. After interviewing 85 fishermen, more than half were taken on board.

Mr. Nasr Yssien Abdulmajeed, a local fisherman has said ‘I was excited to learn how to use the device and wanted to get a loan so that I can develop my boat. I now have the opportunity that I have been looking for.’

It has been estimated that SPARK’s programs could eventually reduce operational costs for fishing communities by 45% as the new fish finder device is expected to half the time that is taken to search for fishes. SPARK hopes that this in turn will increase production levels by at least 35%.