Tom Robinson (pictured right) from Port Elliot in South Australia has been awarded the 2018 FRDC-sponsored Nuffield Scholarship to investigate how wild catch fishers could use mobile devices such as tablets to collate catch data and prove the sustainability of fishing practices.
He believes that access to better and more reliable data will enable fishers to benchmark themselves against industry averages and, in turn, boost their productivity. His research builds on his own initiative in creating the program Deckhand, which allows fishers to collect their own data electronically. It is already being used in several Australian fisheries.
He will travel to North America, Europe and parts of Asia as part of his Nuffield Scholarship to review their collation of fishing data and study how they might use a program such as Deckhand.
Tom Robinson previously worked in advertising before making a literal sea change to Port Elliot, South Australia, to become a commercial fisher in the Lakes and Coorong Pipi Fishery. “I believe it’s critical that fishers start influencing their destiny by collecting their own data. Until now it has been impractical for fishers to collect fine-sale data using paper. We believe Deckhand can turn every fisher into a scientist or data collector,” he says.
Western Australian-based Austral Fisheries has won the Small to Medium Business Sustainability Leadership Awards at the national Banksia Sustainability Awards, which “recognise and celebrate individual and organisation contributions across Australia”. The company was recognised at the awards presentations in November for its efforts in making the business carbon neutral.
It is the first fisheries business in the world to do so. CEO David Carter (pictured left) says the award provides recognition for the business beyond the fisheries sector. He says it also helps to put climate and sustainability messages in front of customers and consumers, and to inspire others to follow suit. He says becoming carbon neutral is good for the planet, good for people and good for the bottom line.
New research aims to identify both the barriers and the motivating factors when it comes to adopting safe work practices in Australia’s commercial fishing sector, which has some of the highest rates of work-related injury and illness in the country. The FRDC-funded project (2017-046) is led by researcher Kate Brooks in collaboration with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the Professional Fishermen’s Association of NSW, the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council and OceanWatch Australia.
Kate Brooks is seeking fishers to share their stories or to take part in a survey as part of the research (confidentiality is guaranteed). To take part or to receive updates on the project progress, email her.
The project will work over 18 months with fisheries and fishers in NSW and Western Australia that have identified workplace health and safety as a high research priority and is expected to provide insights that will raise safety standards in the sector.
An additional 37 species to be included in the 2018 Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) Reports have been confirmed by the SAFS advisory group, which guides the development and coordination of the reports. The new species are: