The Caribbean ICT Research Program aims at developing technology based solutions for small scale fisheries. mFisheries was the result of a partnership between the CIRP and The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to assist in the design and development of mobile safety app “mFisheries”. This app was the first of its kind in the Caribbean and helped to build capacity for ICT interventions in small scale fisheries.
The objectives of the mFisheries project was to promote multi-stakeholder knowledge exchange about the contribution of ICTs for regional development focusing on the fisheries sector. As well as developing opportunities for mobile enabled services to communities which would gather data and analysis to inform regional policy and regulations.
Research & Analysis
Interviews were conducted with over 40 fishermen and boat owners on the island of Tobago and 18 were selected to be early adopters of the mFisheries mobile suite of applications and tools. Personas were developed from the interviews with fishermen to show three representative users: Fleet owner,Full time Fisherman and Recreational Fisher.
Several prototypes were developed. User testing was done both on land and sea to increase the accuracy of the data. At sea tests were supervised by the Trinidad and Tobago coast guard who accompanied the team to test logging of data, GPS communication, cellular service, atmospheric trials and most importantly S.O.S communication. The app was launched with a test group of 18 participants on the island of Tobago for a 3 month trial period after which Phase 2 of develop began adding more robust features and improving functionality with the help of international funding via the Caribbean ICT Research Program.
As of today the program continues to develop partnerships throughout the Caribbean and are currently developing an online communication platform for the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisation (CNFO).