Purpose of the trial
Real-time catch data will help manage the fishery effectively, especially for the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone.
It is a cost-effective way to monitor individual season limits (ISL).
Fishers want to be more involved in fisheries management by providing catch data and observations.
In the future, the app could be used to make transit reports, record lobster measurements or citizen science observations.
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.
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.
The app trial formed part of a 2021 IMAS recreational catch monitoring research project. This project also considered catch tags – read more at Recreational Fisheries Research page.
Why a catch app instead of tags?
The app is being developed 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.
Information Paper - Recreational Rock Lobster catch tags (PDF 588Kb)