In a remarkable event held in the heart of New York City on 19 September, Prince William and The Earthshot Prize proudly unveiled ABALOBI as one of the 15 finalists for the prestigious 2023 Earthshot Prize. This global environmental award celebrates and honours innovators who are dedicated to addressing our planet’s most pressing climate challenges.
Founded by Prince William in 2020, The Earthshot Prize has a bold mission: to discover and scale the world’s most ingenious climate and environmental solutions, ultimately safeguarding and rejuvenating our planet. The prize is centered around five visionary “Earthshots,” each setting ambitious goals for the well-being of our communities, oceans, and ecosystems. These Earthshots include: 1) Protect & Restore Nature; 2) Clean Our Air; 3) Revive Our Oceans; 4) Build A Waste-free World; and 5) Fix Our Climate.
ABALOBI, which means “fisher” in the isiXhosa language, is an organisation based in South Africa, formed in 2018 through a collaboration between scientists and small-scale fishers. Through its pioneering fisheries improvement technologies and programmes, ABALOBI empowers small-scale fishing communities to become stewards of the ocean, positioning them for social, economic, and ecological sustainability. The organisation has been recognised as one of the top three finalists in the Revive Our Oceans category of the 2023 Earthshot Prize.
Dr. Serge Raemaekers, Founder and Director at ABALOBI, expressed their gratitude, saying, “It is an incredible honour to be named a Finalist for the 2023 Earthshot Prize. This recognition affirms the tireless efforts of the small-scale fishers leading our program in protecting our lifeblood, the ocean. We believe in innovative solutions that safeguard ocean life and livelihoods through inclusive ocean conservation and collective action.”
ABALOBI’s impact in small-scale fisheries has been substantial, with fisher-led data collection and a community-supported fishery model driving meaningful change. Their “Fish With A Story” movement has gained widespread recognition and support, addressing food security issues in impoverished coastal communities and garnering support from consumers and influential chefs in South Africa.
Dr. Raemaekers emphasised the interconnectedness of ocean health and coastal communities, stating, “Small-scale fisheries play a crucial role, supporting 492 million livelihoods and providing food security to billions. ABALOBI takes a holistic approach, partnering with fishers and communities to enhance their resource management and stimulate sustainable livelihoods.”
David Shoshola, a traditional fisher and ABALOBI advocate, shared his hope: “My hope is for every fisher to become a responsible fisher, to take ownership of the ocean and its species for the next generation, and I strongly believe that ABALOBI is the ideal tool.”
£1 million in prizes up for grabs
ABALOBI and the other 14 innovators chosen as Earthshot finalists represent diverse regions across six continents and were selected from over 1 100 nominees. They are all in the running for one of the five £1 million prizes, to be awarded at the third annual Earthshot Prize awards ceremony in Singapore later this year.
In addition to the prize money, finalists will receive valuable mentorship and resources through The Earthshot Prize Fellowship Programme, a year-long initiative to accelerate the growth of their groundbreaking solutions. This support includes access to a vast network of influential businesses, investors, and climate experts within The Earthshot Prize’s Global Alliance of Partners.
The five winners of this year’s Earthshot Prize will be chosen by Prince William and the prestigious Earthshot Prize Council, a global assembly of activists, experts, and influencers dedicated to urgent and innovative climate and environmental action. The Earthshot Prize Council is chaired by Christiana Figueres DBE, the architect of the Paris Agreement, and includes notable figures such as Sir David Attenborough, Cate Blanchett, and Jack Ma.
The grand Earthshot Prize awards ceremony is scheduled for 7 November in Singapore, with global broadcast partners ensuring that the world can witness this momentous occasion. This year, Earthshot Week will accompany the awards, bringing leaders, businesses, and investors together in Singapore to explore opportunities with the winners and finalists, fostering tangible action to heal our planet.
For more information about ABALOBI, please visit www.abalobi.org.
For further details about The Earthshot Prize 2023 Finalists, please visit www.earthshotprize.org.
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Written by Republic PR/Bianca Muller.
Feature image: Supplied/ABALOBI