Fishermen participating in a hybrid Fishermen's Forum, connecting with other fishers across Palau via Zoom, discussing updated marketing strategies, improving access to markets for all local producers.

Fishers (fishermen and fisherwomen), as well as other local producers, will have an easier way to sell their fish or produce using efficient technology to bring their products to the market, according to the latest output from Palau’s Fishermen’s Forum (held last week).

A new app (software application) is currently being tested by Ngarchelong and Ngardmau fishers, to help improve their access to markets.

“We’ve tested other apps before but they either didn’t meet our needs or had no local support.  This app fits our needs and there is local technical support,” reported Ann Singeo, Director of Ebiil Society, one of the hosting organizations of this year’s Fishermen’s Forum.

A fisherman using this app can register his catch—the type of fish and its size, weight, and other information—while still out fishing, said Singeo. Buyers will immediately know what’s available based on the postings.

“For example, somebody in Ngardmau had an excess amount of ngduul. Someone in Ngchesar has a customer but does not have enough ngduul. That person from Ngchesar can buy from the person in Ngardmau and fulfill her order,” explained Ann Singeo.

“The app connects producers to markets and buyers, improves market access for producers, reduces waste, and improves livelihoods for many local producers,” she added. The app is expected to be open to producers and buyers by October 2022.

This was one of the updated reports that came out of the annual Fishermen’s Forum, which brings fishers together to discuss issues important to the fishermen and fisherwomen. The meeting objective was to revisit market strategies and update them. The new app was one such update.

Over 60 people participated this year in the Forum which was a hybrid program, with both online and in-person participation. The Fishermen’s Forum was held on a zoom platform with groups in Koror as well as other states’ PAN offices. PAN officers from the states were helping to connect them all together.

Originally planned for January during the peak of COVID-19 infections, the forum was designed as an online meeting but was modified to be a hybrid after COVID cases dropped.

The meeting was also the first time that partners and agencies such as PAN, TNC, Friends of PNMS, RARE, and government agencies that work with fishers, were included in the program.

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