One year after Steenberg’s popular Constantia eatery, Bistro Sixteen82, became the first restaurant to partner with ABALOBI, the small-scale fisher initiative supplying chefs with responsible and traceable fish, the enterprise has grown to over 100 Western Cape restaurants.
Through the use of the ABALOBI app, Steenberg Executive Chef Kerry Kilpin works directly with fisherfolk who supply her with their daily catch. All the fish caught by these small-scale fishers is completely traceable, literally tracking the journey of every fish from hook to cook.
Out of all the ABALOBI partner restaurants, Bistro Sixteen82 remains the most proactive, with the most number of guests engaging with the app by scanning a QR code at their table for the full story including where and by whom the fish on their plate was caught.
Sourcing seafood that is ecologically responsible and socially fair is the crux of this ground- breaking project. By partnering with ABALOBI, restaurants provide fishing communities in seven different fishing areas on the western and southern Cape coast with a better price for their fish and livelihood for their families. The direct route from boat to plate ensures a fair supply chain for the fisherfolk.
As the first ABALOBI ambassador, Chef Kerry continues to champion the cause and is motivated by the need to protect fish resources for future generations. “I want my son to be able to eat fish when he grows up,” is her mantra.
Creating nine delicious dishes over the past year using a diverse variety of up to 14 different species of sustainable and traceable fish, has been the key to Chef Kerry’s ABALOBI success story. From grilled line fish drizzled with her signature sauces, to pickled fish and tapas, Bistro Sixteen82 guests are spoilt for choice.
For the small-scale fishers, creating a secure market for their catches has had a profound impact on the lives of their families and their communities over the past year.
“The fishers are earning more, they have market access, can pay back debt, can save, can repair their boats, pay school fees, and children are back in schools and not on the streets,” explains Dr Serge Raemaekers, co-founder and managing director of ABALOBI.
“After just one year these fishers are stronger and healthier because they are able to fish less and have smaller catches for good money, rather than going out in dangerous circumstances or chasing ever more fish for extremely low prices at the harbour. In Struisbaai during the last winter, for example, when conditions were bad for fishing, the fisherfolk managed to make ends meet without having to take out a loan, which has unfortunately become the norm in many coastal communities,” he adds.
For more information on ABALOBI visit www.abalobi.org.