Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- Beta Testing has been launched for a smartphone fish app called StaBlu.
The app could potentially transform the Caribbean fishing industry. That is the verdict of Dr. Teresa Leslie, Director of St Eustatius Foundation (SEF), who is facilitating this European Union-led innovation on the island.
The fishing app is designed to link the daily fish catch directly to customer demand on the local and regional market. “It is an approach that has been used successfully in Scandinavia,” says Leslie. “Our testing phase has brought together a total of 15 fisherfolk and customers. It is user friendly and we shall launch the full system before September this year.
“Traditionally, the local fish and lobster catch is sold dockside or sent to St. Maarten or St. Barths on a speculative boat ride. Our next step is to involve all fisher folk in our waters and expand the customer base to for example, local restaurants can order their catch of the day.”
Sustainable fishing practices
“This app will not only stimulate local supply and demand but also outline sustainable fishing practices. “Climate change is placing pressure on our oceans and this has an impact on marine life. Fisherfolk need to become the stewards of their own oceans”, according to Leslie.
Leslie said the app will be able to actively record information on the type and amount of fish being sold which will aid in planning for sustainable fisheries.
While the app is being launched in the Eastern Caribbean, it is anticipated it will be adopted by larger markets such as Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica.
While Sint Eustatius Foundation is managing the project, the software for the fisheries app has been realized by St. Maarten-born John Sandiford, a User Experience (UX) designer and owner of Antonio Media BV in Eindhoven, NL. “Buyers will certainly benefit,” according to Sandiford. “Newspapers and fish have the shortest of all product shelf lives. Caribbean food chefs are excellent yet container fish or airlifted fish is never as fresh as fish from local waters.”
Parties interested in being a part of the beta testing and are involved in fisheries can contact Sint Eustatius Foundation at email@example.com