New C.A.R.E App for Coastal Area Reporting & Engagement

A mobile app is being rolled out in the Kogelberg region of the Western Cape to help ocean lovers & concerned community members report incidents ranging from poaching to wild fires and pollution along this special coastline.

The Kogelberg C.A.R.E. app is an important step towards enhancing Coastal Area Reporting and Engagement (C.A.R.E.) in the region and offers concerned citizens a user-friendly interface for public access and participation.

The app is designed for those who live, work and play in the Kogelberg, among them tourists, business owners, residents, small-scale fishers and local authorities in the coastal towns of Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay, Pringle Bay and Rooiels. It allows users to report incidents of poaching, pollution, marine wildlife strandings and whale entanglements. It also has a ‘May Day’ function emergencies, along with red tides, navigational hazards and fires. A handy feature is readily available local weather information and alerts such red tide warnings (when people should avoid collecting mussels).

The Kogelberg C.A.R.E. mobile app was conceptualised by WWF South Africa which has a long-standing relationship with the small-scale fishing community of the Kogelberg. It was funded by the German federal government (BMZ) and developed by DevLabs.

In a first for a public-facing app, links directly to South Africa’s “C-More” system which is monitored by the National Environmental Enforcement Fusion Centre of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries & the Environment (DFFE). This 24/7 command centre monitors all reported incidents and means that any logged incident will be assigned correctly and quickly to the relevant authority.

C-More was originally developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as a closed system to connect various national departments that deal with environmental crimes such as rhino poaching and illegal succulent harvesting. In recent years this capability has been extended to the marine environment and will further be enhanced by this development.

Reporting from the app is intended to promote more effective mobilisation of the authorities and the data collected will be used to provide “heat maps” of where and when incidents occur to assist authorities in resource planning. Among those involved are CapeNature, DFFE, the Overberg Wildfire Volunteers, Overstrand Local Municipality, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve Company.

Craig Smith, Senior Manager for WWF South Africa’s Marine Portfolio, said: “We are very excited to see this coastal app become a reality. We believe that it will help to tackle some of the ongoing issues from a unique perspective, by empowering members of the public to be our eyes and ears in sharing any concerns that they spot along the coastline and at sea.”

While the Kogelberg is the pilot area for this exciting new app, if it is successfully received and effective, it could be rolled out to other coastal towns in South Africa.

The Kogelberg C.A.R.E. app can be downloaded free of charge on the Google Play store and the iOS App Store