Currently, Victoria’s most valuable fishery is the Rock Lobster Fishery, which is accessed by both the commercial and recreational fishing sectors. While the commercial sector is highly regulated and under strict quota management, there is no information on the level of catch taken by the recreational sector or even the number of recreational fishers participating.
To meet its statutory obligations to sustainably manage the rock lobster resource, the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) has implemented a scheme requiring all recreational fishers to tag the rock lobster they catch and keep, and to report the use of each tag. The number of tags used each year will represent the number of rock lobster caught in that time period.
Spatial Vision developed a series of integrated systems that facilitate the tagging regime. This included the creation of webpages, iOS and Android apps and a database to enable the ordering and dispatch of tags and the reporting of tag use. Recreational fishers also have the option to join a citizen science program that enables them to record more detail about the lobster they catch. All the data will be used by the VFA to build a clearer picture of the recreational rock lobster fishery.
Challenges presented by this project include:
- Building a series of integrated systems to support the Rock Lobster tag order and supply process.
- Designing and building an app and web interface that is simple to use and easily understood by the general public.
With the data provided by this app, the VFA will be able to improve their understanding of the recreational rock lobster fishery and capture important scientific species data that will improve their knowledge of the rock lobster population in Victorian waters.
After the first month of operation the results have been pleasing with over 18,364 tags ordered by 1,116 fishers and over 100 tag use reports being received already.