Why Avoiding Clunky & Outdated Fisheries Management Software is so important

4 20, 2018

Discover how the right IT system can support a sustainable future for your fishery

In todays over populated and demanding world, the importance of protecting our natural resources such as fisheries is more important than ever. In 2013, fish accounted for about 17% of the global population's intake of animal protein (Source: Marine Stewardship Council). Therefore the on-going protection and management of this vital food source is becoming more important every year as the planet’s population continues to grow.

Technology is increasingly playing a larger role in the successful management of fisheries around the world, particularly in the context of management software. These systems are used to administer fisheries policy and regulations through the management of data and information.

The systems need be in line with “best practice” data and information management, utilising the latest technology to allow fisheries managers to make informed decisions. And they also need to allow for electronic exchanges on a national and regional basis involving partner agencies and the fishing industry itself.

Unfortunately often these systems are clunky and outdated, are not designed to be particularly user friendly, or are built with a very basic level of functionality. The ability of a region or nation to successfully implement and manage its fisheries policy and regulation is often inhibited by a complete lack of these systems or, as mentioned, through the use of underperforming software.

The benefits of having a system in place that’s innovative, user friendly, accessible, flexible to future change and built to a fishery’s specific needs can provide a range of benefits to both internal users (fishery managers, fishery admin staff, helpdesk staff) and external users (fishermen, fish receivers, fishing companies).

Let’s take a look at just a few of the advantages that a well-designed fisheries management system can provide to all its users and how it can help ultimately to ensure a sustainable future for our worlds fisheries.


Improved efficiencies

unloading fish sml

Intuitive and user friendly systems are known for improving productivity of staff and facilitating more efficient practices and processes. Both internal and external users benefit greatly from having a system that is built specifically to meet their requirements and is intuitive to their needs.

Internal admin staff benefit from the automation of tedious tasks as well as from using a system that is specifically streamlined for their needs, thus improving their productivity and allowing them to work more quickly and efficiently.

External users such as fishermen will also benefit from having an optimised system, particularly one that is accessible remotely via tablets and mobile devices - key for users (such as fishermen) who spend the majority of their time out on the water. An intuitive and user friendly system also promotes greater self-service uptake, allowing external users to self-manage their own fisheries information, which means they are able to complete tasks more quickly and efficiently. 


More informed decision making

Deckhand app in use web

Deckhand App being used for catch and GPS reporting

Well-designed fisheries management software provides the ideal environment for collecting, sharing and managing fisheries data. Functions that support this type of environment are:

  • Good data validation processes: It is essential to have the processes and steps in place to ensure that any data that is entered into the system is correct and in the right format. 
  • Data collection method suits the needs of its users: Having a method that suits the requirements of its intended users is key in ensuring data obligations are met and maintained long term.
  • Reporting functions: Having easy to use and optimised reporting functionality is essential for gaining the most value from the fisheries data. The types of reports generated by the system need to be carefully chosen and designed to meet the needs of each fishery.

The benefits of having a system that’s built with the needs of collecting and managing fisheries data at its core is invaluable in the benefits it can provide. The statement, ‘you can’t manage what you don’t know’ is more prevalent than ever in this sector.  

Fisheries management consultant Mark Jones recently shared his thoughts on the importance of collecting accurate and relevant fishing information; “Fundamentally it is about making fisher-dependent data available in a timely manner, of better quality and more accessible. As this is what ultimately drives your ability to manage the fish resource more efficiently and effectively.”

At the end of the day, managers need smart systems that can give them access to the information they need to make quick and informed decisions, which ultimately ensures a fisheries fish stocks remain abundant.


Encourages compliance

fishing boats

A well designed system provides the foundation for fishers and fishery organisations to easily comply and adhere to all legislative requirements. Having a fisheries management system that allows them to effectively report on their catch and manage their catch entitlements helps remove any resistance and reasons for fishers not to adhere to any necessary data and process requirements. Plus a more intuitive tool makes compliance to a regime simpler which encourages more sustainable fishing practices and supports the safeguarding of a fishery for future generations. 


Technology key for keeping fish on the menu

fish on plate web

A well-functioning fishery always has an efficiently managed and responsible industry as its core. As this article has outlined, having a fisheries management system in place that will assist and support this industry is very important. It will not only keep it functioning, but will also provide the foundation it needs to operate sustainably so fish can continue being a vital food source for generations to come. 


Read our case study ‘Smart System for a Sustainable Future’ to discover how a new fisheries management solution was built and implemented to support New Zealand’s Quota Management System.

ELEMENTS for Fisheries Software 

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