Fisheries Areas Network

Good Practice Project

Xesmar: a digital app for managing shellfish activities

A digital platform developed by and for the shellfish sector simplifies and improves the day-to-day management, control and planning of shellfish activities.


As well as harvesting, shell-fishing also involves “farming” activities: planting shellfish seed, transferring the maturing shellfish, cleaning the production beaches, monitoring stocks and captures, etc. A complex planning, adapted daily to the tides and including set days of fishing closure and other emergency shutdowns due to toxins and weather warnings, implied a significant amount of time was spent by shellfish gatherers finding out, for example, whether they could work on a given day. Notices of closures were posted in the cofradía (fishing and shell-fishing association), which meant a trip to the workplace to access information, and captures were recorded on paper which the cofradía would then need to digitalise for reporting to the regional administration.

A local industrial engineer and former shellfish gatherer decided that technology could make life much easier for shellfish gatherers and the cofradía. Pablo Dorgambide developed a digital platform, accessible via internet and mobile app which would allow shellfish gatherers to access and record information without having to make a special trip to the workplace. The work calendar and notifications are now available online, performance of activities can be logged online, along with the weight and species of captures.

As well as supporting the costs for developing the platform, and the necessary IT equipment, the FLAG invested in promoting uptake of this easy-to-use app and training shellfish gatherers in its use. The project involved collaboration (and cost sharing) between two cofradías from the area.


An easy-to-use online system has been created which is already simplifying the management and planning of shellfish activities. 430 shellfish gatherers have been trained and 86% of on-foot shellfish gatherers in Cambados and 98% in Vilanova have adopted the use of this digital tool in their daily work practices. The majority are women of over 50. Data is now available in real time online, saving time in wasted trips to the workplace and improving the reliability of data recorded on captures.


Such a tool could be used in many areas to manage shell-fishing activities – though will need to be adapted to the specificities of the work and reporting requirements in place. The platform was introduced to foot shellfish gatherers, seeing very fast uptake. It has since been transferred to other groups of shellfish gathers such as those on boats, as well as to another cofradía in the area. Strong interest from other FLAG areas has also been shown.

Lessons & contribution to CLLD objectives: 

A key success factor of the project was the fact that the tool was developed by a former shellfish gatherer which meant he understood precisely the needs of the users and could tailor the app to meeting those specific needs. 

Contribution to CLLD objective: Strenghtening the role of fisheries communities in local development and the governance of local fisheries resources and maritime activities.



Total project cost €63 319
FLAG grant €52 330
  • EU contribution (EMFF): €44 480
  • Public contribution (regional): €7 850
Beneficiary contribution €10 989

Project information

Timeframe of implementation From Aug 2018 to Oct 2019
Sea Basins
Type of area


Cofradías of Cambados and Vilanova de Arousa
Cofradía de Pescadores "A Pastoriza"

Contact details

FLAG Contacts

Ms. Rosa Carballo Martínez
+34 986 51 09 53
Publication date: 
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