Dr. Siti Akmar Ab Rahim (UNIMAS)
Traditional fishers are trapped within a vicious cycle, the term we refer to as the wicked problem. They are caught with no technology advancements – still using traditional means to catch fish. Competing with commercial boats, lack of marketing and distributing skills, depends on middlemen and at times exploited.
They are affected by poverty and lack of resources to scale their businesses, however depend on the business to feed their family and send their kids to school. They don’t have access to good infrastructure, especially when they are from the rural. yet the price of the fish we buy in the market is 300% more than what these fishers get for each fish sold.
Check out the video below to discover the challenges of traditional fishers.
In #DemiLaut, we aim to modernize traditional fisheries so traditional fishers could improve their livelihood and be inclusive of monitoring and managing the impact of overfishing and climate change on the ocean. We develop and test various models to identify sustainable means to provide solutions to traditional fishers. As young engineers and scientists, the team member explores the possibility of creating a community-driven solution that may be feasible in transforming possibly not only traditional fisheries but other small-holders too.
We had developed prototypes and products including an automated net-hauler, a cold-chain microservice, a supply chain fisheries tech app, and advocate pilot testing in large scales with the public and the fishers. The concept is similar to what you would be experiencing in this program. We believe that only when the traditional fishers needs effectively resolve, would they be able to contribute to food security and possibly monitoring impact of climate change.
There are about 129,800 traditional fishers in Malaysia, and up to 6,111,389 fishers in South East Asia (SEAFDEC, 2015). They produce from 33.5 million in 2010 to 42.2 million in 2014 (FAO, 2018), quite a an amount for within just 4 years to feed human and non-human consumptions.
It’s a modality of project design and delivery that transfers decision-making power and, often financial and technical resources, directly to communities or groups of end-users. In other words, it means that it is a method of creating projects that allow the community or group of people to make their own decision for themselves.
How does it matter? We would require a lot of effort or manpower to cover the scale of a big community’s decision. At times, there were efforts to motivate the community with fees to , so they would continue with the implementation of a project, however not until the tokens as money runs dry would the project still be running. We need to figure a solution that would not require these tokens, but just real factors, i.e.: increase the price of fish sold by fishers, reduce the operational costs of fishers, etc, and this is where a community-driven solution is important to have.
It lower down the costs for infrastructure, no capital required. We rely on the number of community participating that buys into the project for a return that they value for themselves, to continue the engine of the project that generates the impact. It might sound like a daunting task, however this is a lot better than assuming any solutions could fit into any problems as a fix.
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes – the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
That’s a quote by Steve Jobs, the man who had changed the world with his drive and vision. And he could be speaking of the likes of you, those who are here reading this online module on how to contribute to traditional fisheries and to create impact with #DemiLaut. We’re on this project together, you are solution. We explore, discover, test, and scale these iterations for the livelihood of others and the planet.
You do you, they said. Yes, let’s do us.