A smartphone app that enables small-scale fishers to gather evidence against industrial vessels fishing illegally in Ghana has been launched by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF).
DASE, which means ‘evidence’ in Fante, provides a simple, user-friendly programme that can help Ghanaian fishing communities rid their waters of the illegal vessels that threaten their livelihoods. Based on the Collect software platform, it was developed by EJF under the EU-funded Far Dwuma Nkodo project.
At the launch of the app, Nana Jojo Solomon, executive member of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council, said: “Illegal fishing is causing the collapse of Ghana’s staple fish stocks and the loss of food security, livelihoods and tens of millions of dollars in national revenue. This app means canoe fishers no longer have to stand by while industrial vessels fish illegally in their fishing grounds.”
When a vessel is spotted illegally fishing, or damaging canoes or gear, the user simply opens the app and takes a photo of the boat with its name or identification number showing and records the location. The app does the rest, uploading the report to a central database where the evidence can be used by the government to catch and sanction the perpetrators.
Before the development phase had been completed the app had been used to alert authorities to a trawler fishing illegally in the inshore exclusion zone reserved for canoes. The app is also being developed for use in other West African countries such as Liberia.