Recreational rock lobster fishers are being asked to log their catches in the new Rock Lobster Catch Monitoring App as part of a trial to better manage the rock lobster fishery - particularly for the East Coast.
Real-time catch data collected through the App will improve reporting of recreational catch.
Using the App is voluntary, and feedback will help develop future versions. Phone reception is not required - catch data is recorded and downloads later when you have reception.
Feedback from rock lobster fishers helps to improve app functionality which will benefit recreational fishers and improve compliance.
News and app upgrades
During season 2021-2022, over 300 recreational rock lobster fishers registered to use the app. More than 500 fishing trips with a total of 1300 rock lobster caught and 700 released have been logged up until mid-March.
Based on feedback from users we have upgraded the app to allow post reporting of fishing trips and recording of lobster size and sex data. We are also considering suggestions about fishing trips and catch locations. For example, the current version uses a pin drop, which we interpret as a general area, and some users suggested we record boat ramps for planning trips, and record catches in regions or zones.
Where to download
You can download the app using the following links.
Download the iPhone and iPad version from the
iTunes App Store (iOS device only).
Download the Android version from the Google Play Store.
How to log your catch
Feedback can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org or use the feedback link on the app.
Why is a catch app being trialled?
- Fishers want to be more involved in fisheries management by providing catches, observations, and fishing information.
- Real-time catch data will help manage the fishery effectively, especially for the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone.
- It MAY BE a cost-effective way to monitor individual season limits (ISL).
- It could be used in the future to report zone transiting to help compliance, or record lobster measurements and citizen science observations.
What happens to the trial data?
The purpose of the trial is to develop a practical app. We are also interested in evaluating the effectiveness of app data against current survey methods and will be providing the data to IMAS in accordance with our personal information protection statements and the IMAS data-sharing agreements. Any catch will be reported by area only and your personal details or fishing locations will never be publicly disclosed.
How accurate does my fishing location need to be?
We only need to know the general area where you fish, not your precise location. For example, if you are fishing in the rocks north of Fortescue Bay on the Tasman Peninsula, just tap the location anywhere on the eastern side of the Peninsula. If you are fishing below Cape Pillar, drop the pin south of the Peninsula. If you fish Storm Bay, drop the pin in the general vicinity.
What is an individual season limit, and will it be implemented?
An ISL is a maximum allocation of rock lobster each fisher can take per season or area. ISLs are often suggested by recreational fishers as a fairer way to share catch amongst themselves or to restrain catch if needed.
An ISL and app to monitor rock lobster catches will be beneficial even if the East Coast catch amount is increased for the recreational sector because it will:
- help manage growth in the total catch, and
- share the catch in a fairer way between recreational fishers.
Any introduction of an ISL would require formal consultation. At this stage, we are trialling systems and ideas.
Will the app replace the current IMAS rock lobster survey?
Using an app to estimate catch is a largely untested approach that needs careful research and review. A high degree of confidence in the data is needed before catch apps can either replace or complement existing survey methods.
IMAS currently conducts an annual survey of randomly selected licence holders to estimate the recreational catch. Interviewers contact fishers regularly to collect statistically robust catch information. Read about the current methodology at:
Recreational Rock Lobster & Abalone Fisheries: 2020-21 Catch Estimates.
What if I am part of the current IMAS Survey?
If you are part of the IMAS Rock Lobster and Abalone Survey you can still use the App, but please continue reporting your catch details to the IMAS interviewers. We are interested in feedback about both systems.
IMAS recreational catch monitoring research project
IMAS is completing a report on options to monitor and regulate recreational catch in the Tasmanian rock lobster fishery focusing on the east coast. This project:
- conducted a global literature review to identify alternative monitoring and management options;
- assessed the feasibility of using catch tags and apps.
The project conducted a trial using tags and apps in March/April 2021. The
Recreational Rock Lobster & Abalone Fisheries: 2020-21 Survey sought fisher views on the use of harvest tags, catch apps and individual season limits. These responses, as well as feedback from previous fishery reviews, indicate general support for apps and harvest tags.
Why a catch app instead of tags?
We are developing the App over other options because it is cost-effective and provides real-time data with little effort required by fishers.
Tags have been considered but they need a distribution system, and tag loss and plastic pollution can present problems. There are still issues, such as alternate reporting systems for less tech-savvy fishers or don’t take their phone on the water so we will also consider telephone reporting, catch cards and other systems.