The 4th webinar of the Fish-X project was held on May 26, 2023, on the topic of ‘How can Portuguese small-scale fisheries (SSF) benefit from digital technologies?’. Nasrullah Ali, Fish-X Events Manager from EU Tech Chamber (EUTECH), along with Nicolas Blanc, Fisheries Officer from Sciaena, moderated the webinar and welcomed the over 90 participants.
Dr. Fabian Reith, Fish-X Project Coordinator from TransMarTech S-H , delivered the opening presentation about the Fish-X project. To read more about the project, consortium partners, and their activities, please visit https://fish-x.eu/
The webinar was focused on the Portuguese SSF and presented experts who possess extensive knowledge of the present challenges and potential solutions in this domain. The two keynote speakers included Marta Rufino, Researcher at the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA); and André Dias, Fishermen representative from Algarve, Portugal.
Marta Rufino focused on tracking Portuguese SSF in her presentation and highlighted the concerning state of fish populations, which have declined by 50% over the past four decades. The oceans, which are overfished and under-protected, are on the brink of collapse. She gave examples how high-resolution fishing effort data can support better use of marine spaces, preserve ecosystems, improves safety at sea.
The presentation by André Dias focused on leveraging digital technology to benefit SSF and coastal communities, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable ocean. The two main topics highlighted in the presentation included marine spatial planning and online fish market apps. The speaker showcased several maps depicting fishing locations to enhance understanding and facilitate better management of fishing activities.
The three panelists included Luis Benes, Fisheries Biologist at the Center of Marine Sciences, Portugal; Helena Cardoso, Director Commercial, Communications, and Marketing at Docapesca – Portos e Lotas, S.A., Portugal; and João Escudeiro from the Directorate-General for Natural Resources, Safety, and Maritime Services (DGRM), Portugal.
The speakers and panelists agreed that all stakeholders recognise the importance of a swift digitalisation in fisheries. However, they acknowledged that involving fishers in decision-making processes is crucial to gain their trust and secure their support for implementing digital tools. Fishers are key players in the digitalisation process, and their understanding of the benefits is essential. Interaction and engagement with fishers are important, and projects like Fish-X can serve as examples to showcase the advantages of digitalisation for all stakeholders involved in fisheries.
The participants were highly engaged in the conversation by writing comments and questions, which created a dynamic and interactive Q/A session. Nasrullah Ali concluded the webinar by thanking all the speakers, panelists, & participants for joining the webinar.