New technology could improve data collection
CMO Glenn Caravias from the Territory Force familiarising himself with a handheld data collection unit
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) Industry Pty Ltd have been working together to trial the use of new devices to enable CMOs to collect data and transfer it instantly to a database on the mainland.
It is hoped that these trials will help to reduce the time crew member observers (CMOs) spend on data entry, provide opportunity for real-time feedback to CMOs in the field to help them with their monitoring, minimise risk of data loss, and reduce data entry costs. The results so far indicate that these are realistic expectations. CMO and Mate on the Territory Force, Glenn Caravias trialled one of the waterproof, rugged digital devices during 2011 and 2012, and wouldn’t be without one.
“It turns a 15 minute job into a two minute job, simple as that. These devices have a built in camera too, so you can pretty much do everything in one hit”, said Mr Caravias.
“Phone reception can be pretty hit and miss out here, so we’ve learned that uploading the data can still take a while, but it’s definitely easier than filling out paperwork.”
These technological innovations, training opportunities and incentives have played a key role in reaching another important achievement during 2011 and 2012; CMOs have been able to start collecting information during the banana prawn season. Historically, it has been extremely difficult to collect data at this time of year, due to the particularly busy fishing pattern when fishing for banana prawns.
However, in 2011 (one of the busiest banana prawn seasons in over a decade), and the 2012 season (which is still underway), CMOs have been tirelessly collecting information whilst banana prawn fishing, including from regions which are particularly difficult to sample due to their remoteness, such as the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf.
NPF CEO Annie Jarrett believes it is an innovative approach to improving at sea data collection.
“NPF Industry Pty Ltd have much to be proud of in the results obtained to date, and we will continue to explore innovative and cost effective ways to collect robust scientific information to ensure our ongoing sustainability”, Ms Jarrett said.
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