A brave new maritime initiative has launched in New Zealand. The Electronic Monitoring fisheries program is the very first in the world to establish a more transparent conversation between the fishing industry and the public over how fish are caught, handled, and managed.
And now, EM provider Snap Information Technologies has installed hardware on FV Chips, a small inshore fishing vessel run by Karl Warr. The SnapIT technology utilizing AI, by monitoring what is happening on the boat, is able to categorize vessel activity and, eventually, distinguish the size and species of the fish caught.
Life-long commercial fisherman Warr believes transparency is essential for consumers to make informed choices. In his view, people should know how their fish is caught so their purchases reflect their values and choices. So, he became the first in the world to provide a transparent view of commercial fishing by streaming his on-board camera live on the internet. It’s a real-time view of the fishing activity on his vessel and shows customers how the fish on their plate originated.
Motivated to provide genuine insight into how the seafood we eat is produced rather than painting a less realistic picture (or rather than painting a more idealistic picture), the skipper of FV Chips wants people informed before they decide what they purchase.
The innovator recognizes we all have a role to play in the sustainable harvest of the seafood we love to eat. From the fishing boat to the kitchen table, we must ensure everyone understands how the choices they make impact the sustainability of our fisheries. When a consumer is informed, they’re empowered to make choices that either reward or penalize fishermen based on their purchase. Together, we are collectively responsible for securing and ensuring environmentally respectful fishing practices. We all live with the consequences of food production, good or bad, for a very long time depending on our actions and purchases.
We anticipate both the fisherman and the public will benefit from increased transparency and proof of sustainable practices through this innovative live-streaming project, which started December 15. Warr will be able to demonstrate the increased value of his fish because he’s operating ethically and sustainably.
By live-streaming his catch he is able to establish trust and demonstrate his fish are harvested with care. Ultimately, all consumers, from the homemaker to the high-end eatery, can control their purchasing options. As the data will be available to everyone, all will have the opportunity to shape the market through supply and demand.
This initiative is not a standard EM program. Normally, an EM program only provides video and sensor data for auditing and enforcement of catch limits and safe, legal fishing practices. In a standard EM program the biggest cost is human reviewers watching the video. This video is usually transferred from the vessel via the swapping of physical harddrives to be viewed in the SnapIT cloud service by fishermen (as the data is rich with business intelligence), but also provisioned to governments or third-party review services. The new SnapIT system is able to transmit that data using cutting edge compression technology via cellular LTE networks when the vessel sails into range.
The project with FV Chips is a huge departure from a standard compliance-focused EM program. It is the first to attempt to engage and educate the public in real-time.
The SnapIT system consists of cameras and sensors and AI-optimized hardware on board vessels and allows the wireless transmission of data for compliance, interactions with protected species, and catch discharge. The system also provides protection for those who are following ethical fishing practices, giving an impartial record of activity and events. Finally, EM has considerable value for fishermen in planning and business intelligence. It is exciting to see this technology begin to be used for adding value to a fisher’s operation.
To experience the live-stream, visit www.betterfish.co.