To date fishers have had to adapt to technologies and digital platforms on their own. Some fishers are early adopters of new technologies, whilst others struggle with a lack of confidence and digital-know-how.
Fisheries management reform in Queensland, in due course, will change the way commercial fishers operate but fishers and fishing businesses need to have the capability to identify and use technologies that will help them adapt to the change such that their businesses remain commercially viable.
An industry wide approach that involves localised supportive communities where people can get advice and assistance from people who not only understand digital technologies but also the fishing industry context is needed. It is also important that the program take a staged approach that builds confidence and delivers both short and long-term business improvement outcomes for participants.
Stage 1 focuses on building general business digital literacy skills to ensure that commercial fishers have the underlying technical skills and knowledge to adopt technologies (the intended users of the new QDAF digital reporting platform) that will potentially improve business operations – accounting, HR and project management, social licence, sustainability, communications, B2B and B2C marketing, storytelling and provenance.
Stage 2 focuses on maximising the uptake of the QDAF reporting app by fishers as well as many other existing and new online QDAF service functions including the Vessel Monitoring System operation, reporting catch, trading quota units or other license entitlements.
This approach will create resources and tools as well as a network of skilled people providing a legacy for ongoing development of digital literacy and adoption within the seafood industry, initially in Queensland but potentially throughout Australia.