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CIFAR Alliance and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

"Elevating Small-Scale Fisheries Through Data & Technology"

Company Description

Abalobi is a South African social enterprise and mobile app that empowers small-scale fishers by providing tools for sustainable fishing, catch data recording, traceability, market access, and community engagement. It promotes sustainable fisheries management and helps fishers improve their livelihoods while fostering transparency in the seafood supply chain.


Vision of Abalobi

Abalobi's vision is to develop thriving, equitable, climate change-resilient, and sustainable small-scale fishing communities through inclusion, social entrepreneurship, and a knowledge-based approach to fisheries rebuilding. Abalobi operates as a fisher-led enabler, intermediary, and accelerator.


The company recognizes coastal communities as playing a vital role in preserving the health of our oceans. Abalobi's participatory fisheries rebuilding strategies take into account both ocean life and livelihoods.


They co-innovate enabling technologies in collaboration with fishing communities to promote sustainable ocean livelihoods, nurture stewardship potential, transform markets, and leverage data for evidence-based fisheries regeneration. Abalobi's core belief lies in reimagining seafood systems through the meaningful and impactful elevation of small-scale fisheries.

The Solution

ABALOBI is committed to enhancing small-scale fisheries through innovative technologies, market models, and data systems. They work closely with fishers to transition their fisheries from illegitimate to sustainable, emphasizing Triple Bottom Line sustainability. ABALOBI employs technology and data to disrupt unsustainable practices, aiming to transform both small-scale fishers and consumers toward a more sustainable model in production and consumption.


“We co-innovate data technology in partnership with fishing communities, to stimulate sustainable ocean livelihoods, nurture stewardship, develop fair and responsible market structures, and gather and leverage data to advance fisheries rebuilding.”



Business Model:

They are currently securing concessions with partnering FIs and charging a commission on loans and savings as part of their revenue model.


Their Plan to Scale: 

ABALOBI operates with a commitment to accelerating their locally embedded partners through a Community of Practice scaling model implemented in 10 sites worldwide, and concurrently participating in a learning circle with related initiatives. The organization envisions significant impact at scale through replication, widespread software adoption, tailored technical assistance to partners, and the support of local initiatives. ABALOBI's vision positions the company as a global catalyst for a suite of fisher-driven technologies, local data ownership initiatives, interconnected market structures for small-scale fisheries, financial services, and the resulting Triple Bottom Line impact and resilience.


In the face of the Ocean Emergency and the increasing inequality experienced by vulnerable frontline communities, ABALOBI is eager to expedite its journey to scale, both locally and globally. The company enthusiastically welcomes collaboration and extends an invitation to interested organizations seeking to partner with ABALOBI to further their mission and broaden their sphere of influence. ABALOBI has laid a solid foundation over several years of groundwork with core partners and is well-prepared to build upon this base.


After five years of innovation and iteration, ABALOBI has demonstrated the success of its Triple Bottom Line model, characterized by rigorous, scalable, data-driven, transparent, and auditable impact measurement. Fisherwomen and -men participating in the program have achieved a fair return, market access, and visibility within the supply chain. This tangible incentive has resulted in a high retention rate and a notable shift away from Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) catch. In just one year within the ABALOBI program, fisher beneficiaries in their South African deployment have achieved a household food security status of 88%, primarily driven by a remarkable 100–300% increase in revenue.

Simultaneously, this shift toward ecological sustainability is evident through a catch composition that includes 93% ecologically resilient species, all channeled through a fair, fully traceable, and transparent supply chain.

ABALOBI empowers small-scale fishers to secure a legitimate and improved livelihood through the establishment of comprehensive and equitable market structures for ecologically resilient fish species.

Lasting impact and long-term behavior change are accomplished through a multi-faceted approach. At the individual fisher level, ABALOBI provides plug-and-play data technologies and services, personalized training, digital identity, formalization of roles (including post-harvest work), as well as fair and digital market access and remuneration.

Abalobi Founding Team

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