Information Technology and the Sea

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Commercial fishing vessel named South Bay, Morro Bay, CA

Image sourced from here 25/03/2016

My Background

Let me start this off by telling you a bit about my history in regards to the sea, I come from a fishing background. Both my grandfathers were fishermen, my father was a fisherman, so naturally I became a fisherman. I was 17 years old straight out of school with no qualifications and I was not able to pursue my dream of joining the army or the police as I’m deaf in one ear. My family at that point owned a business name Donker Marine, a fishing company with two deep sea trawlers, I got a job on a vessel named the Recovery II.

At the same time, our family also owned a business named Motueka Nets, which is based in Port Nelson, Motueka Nets make and repair fishing trawls (nets) amongst other small projects, like safety nets for builders, supplying ropes, twines and netting to the general public and servicing the salmon nets located around the country.

When I was about 19 years old, I left the deep sea fishing industry and got a position at Motueka nets, I no longer work there as I’m currently studying for a Diploma in Information Technology, but I will always have an interest in the trawl industry because of the family business.

Information Technology in the Trawl Industry

In the trawl industry, information technology plays a huge role! The main piece of information technology that benefits the trawl industry is the software that has been developed to design the many different types of fishing trawls. In fact, the fishing industry in a whole would be a hell of a lot different nowadays without the evolution of information systems.

Theses information systems provide all the necessary information required by a large range of people specialising in different fields of work, these people include captains, fisheries business owners, Ministry of Fisheries officials and other government agencies.

The information attained from information systems in the fishing industry helps govern New Zealand’s eco system and lowers the risk of species becoming depleted. The information gained helps develop the quota system, which is a system that states how much fish a company can catch and what species its allowed to catch.

Examples of Information Systems on the fisheries industry

There are many, many different types of information systems in the fisheries industry ranging from systems for vessel management, Quota management, Trawl management, species management, seabed mapping, trawl design and trawl monitoring systems just to name a few.

Here are some examples of those information systems with the links to their websites.

  • Software such as Trawl Vision PRO available from http://www.acruxsoft.com.uy/ which is used to design fishing trawls.
  • Notus Electronics is a world leader in net monitoring systems and offers products and services that are unmatched in the industry. Here’s a link to their website http://www.notus.ca/
  • Ocean Mapping software available from such businesses as Seabed Mapping International http://www.seabedmapping.com/

 

Innovation in Information Systems for the Sea

As I said earlier, I will always have an interest in the fisheries industry because of the family business, Motueka Nets, and now that I’m going down the path of an Information technology professional, who knows what’s in store form me in the future, in particular when you combine both of those interests, there’s opportunity to maybe develop my own information system for the trawl industry or even the fisheries industry.

When our tutor gave us students the task of writing a blog about an area of IT and reflect on possible innovative ideas, or innovative ideas we are passionate about that are already in motion, I naturally thought of the fishing industry!

I currently don’t have an innovative idea for an information system myself in the fisheries industry, however I came across this not long ago and I personally think that it’s a winner.

This innovative product is called Dredgemaster.

Dredgemaster

Dredgemaster is the world’s first real time monitoring system for scallop dredges. Dredgemaster is a brand new product developed by Notus Electronics, and I believe it will revolutionise the way commercial dredging is performed.

DREDGEMASTER: The World First Wireless Monitoring System for Scallop Dredges
Notus Electronic Ltd. (Notus) has been supplying wireless sensors to the commercial fishing industry for 22 years. Notus has just released the Dredgemaster, a wireless sensor system for monitoring the warp length, pith angle and roll angle of a scallop dredge. The system was developed by working with scallop vessels in the US where increases of 22% were seen in catch rates.

The Dredgemaster consists of shipboard equipment (command unit and transducer) that communicate wirelessly to sensors mounted on the dredge.

(News extract retrieved from http://www.notus.ca/dredgemaster-the-worlds-first-real-time-monitoring-for-scallop-dredges/ on 25/03/2016)

Seinemaster
Dredgemaster system

Both images sourced from Notus Electronics

Dredge1
Dredgemaster System in play with the vessel

A link to the Drendemaster System website can be found here.

The reason I believe this system is the next big thing in scallop dredging is because leading up to this point of time, fishing vessels have been essentially dredging blind. Of course they know where the scallop bed is, but now with this system, it opens up so many capabilities that enables the vessel to really ‘see’ what their dredge is doing.

I also don’t believe there are any justifiable obstacles with the Dredgemaster, the only obstacle it may have in my opinion would be cost, generally these types of technology are very expensive but with the fishing industry, you have to spend money to make money and the share amount of time you would save with this product would save you thousands.

As far as my own personal views go with this product, I’m very passionate about the fishing industry as a whole, and any technology that makes the job more efficient is a winner in my books.

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