In many fisheries around the world, paper forms and handwritten records are still used for data collection and reporting. There are even cases among small-scale artisanal fisheries in Peru where these simple recording methods do not exist or are not commonly seen.
Technology, in the era of digital transformation, allows to generate a greater record of information, enabling the artisanal fisheries sector to continue to develop and ensuring that traceability is progressively more relevant in the sector. For this reason, WWF Peru, together with fishermen, the government, and other actors in the supply chain, co-developed a mobile application called 'TrazApp' to facilitate the flow of information from one actor to another.
For Jose Carlos Alvarez, Traceability and Fisheries Information Systems Officer at WWF Peru, this digital system serves to solve traceability and trace seafood products from capture to potentially the final consumer. "The application was designed to generate reliable information on time, so that anyone within the supply chain, regardless of their role, can access and share information on the activity," he explained.
This innovative tool has been implemented with different actors in the fishing production chain, with more than 6,000 trips and 500 vessels registered by the fishing landing sites and more than 10,000 trips and 100,000 tons landed registered by more than 400 artisanal fishermen.
'TrazApp' provides a variety of benefits including data sharing with fishermen to provide greater understanding and control of catches and their marketing, the creation of a historical record of activity to support their activity and management decisions, the ability to differentiate products and create added value, and access to an electronic platform capable of facilitating direct sales that can avoid the traditional use (and cost) of a middleman, among others.
On the other hand, it is also being adopted as a safety tool for fishing communities. Alvarez points out that the application allows fishermen to record the dates on which they set sail and the dates and places to which they should return, giving their loved ones the ability to track their journey, which can be useful for long trips.
"With this resource, families who had no way of knowing if their relatives were safe while fishing can now find out thanks to this functionality. Sustainability and traceability initiatives can only prosper with the help of fishermen, and it is also a support that protects them at sea," he said.
Currently, more information is being used and is needed to continue developing the fishing sector, therefore, the system has been incorporating new functions such as online requests for departure and arrival to the maritime authority such as the General Directorate of Coast Guard and Coast Guard (DICAPI), access to prices of commercial species provided by IMARPE and data on tides, sea temperature, and wind speed. In addition, it generates traceability reports to verify the origin of catches, which are just some of the elements that are now available to shipowners to fish sustainably: the great challenge of countries like Peru.
Article originally published at wwf.org.