Smartphone app aims to help commercial fishing reduce
A new smartphone app created in the UK allows the fishing industry to report incidental catches of wildlife (bycatch) alongside standard catch reporting and will help record bycatch of important marine species such as as dolphins and porpoises, seals, sea birds, sharks, rays and rays.
The developer of the app, AST Marine Sciences Limited, part of Applied Satellite Technology Ltd, hopes the technology will be used by scientists and the fishing industry to help understand which wildlife species are more likely to be caught accidentally and reduce bycatch overall. .
According to AST, less than 5% of commercial fishing activity is observed and fishing trawlers rarely have the space to carry observers or set up monitoring equipment. DEFRA estimates that bycatch of Fulmar bird species alone could number between 4,500 and 5,700 birds each year.
Developed for Clean Catch UK, a research program bringing together scientists and the fishing industry to reduce the impact of fishing on sensitive marine species, the app is currently in use in the South West of England and also plans to be deployed in other parts of the UK. .
The app can be used on regular smartphones and the storage and transfer technology queues the data for later delivery and if the network coverage is poor, so that important data from by-sockets is not lost.
David Davies, Managing Director of AST Marine Sciences, said: “Small inshore fishing vessels are generally not monitored for bycatch, but fishermen very often carry smartphones. The Clean Catch UK app is an effective tool to help monitor and prevent bycatch and a fantastic example of how AST is applying its expertise in data monitoring to the maritime industry. AST Marine Sciences is proud to be working on such an important project and to help the UK government work for a more sustainable fishing industry. “
Victoria Bendall, Marine Scientist for CEFAS and Co-Head of Clean Catch UK, said: “More crews using the app means a more detailed picture of how to reduce bycatch in UK fisheries. We look forward to working with more vessels and would love to hear from anyone interested in getting involved.