Recreational fishers in the South Island are welcoming a new app developed in Nelson, which they expect will lead to fairer decisions about the blue cod fishery.
The app, which is yet to be named, was trialled in Motueka this week by recreational fishers. It was developed by Plink Software in Nelson.
Fish Mainland – a non-profit organisation which represents the interests of recreational fishers in the South Island and Stewart Island – is putting $40,000 towards the development and implementation of the self-reporting app, while the Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures programme is contributing a further $60,000.
The app has initially been designed to cover the blue cod fishery, but had potential to cover other species, Fish Mainland director Alan Key, from Southland, said.
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It’s expected the app will help create more reliable statistics and data about trends in catch for blue cod and bycatch to improve decision-making about the shared fishery in New Zealand.
Key said when fishers caught a fish they could take a photo and the app would record data such as location, time of catch and size of the fish.
“You really get cold hard data to make sensible decisions to make fisheries sustainable and not out of the reach of everyday New Zealanders,” Key said. “It’s an innovative way of filling a massive void in information.”
Motueka recreational fisherman Geoff Rowling said the problem with recreational fishing was that often the data about what fishers were catching, along with where and how much, was questioned by other stakeholders in the fishing and marine sector, or by MPI. It was often guestimates based on boat ramp surveys, he said.
The app gave recreational fishers the opportunity to put forward real data which would be beneficial when they entered talks on issues like bag limits, he said.
Rowling, a Fish Mainland member, would be using the app and expected it would be popular among recreational fishers.
“Generally people accept that we all have a part to play in the sustainable management of marine resources, and better data should give better results,” Rowling said.
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