Impact and next steps
Put simply, the success of the BATmap project is reflected in its continued use by participating skippers. BATmap has enabled them to experience the collective benefits of sharing information and contribute to sustainable fisheries by reducing by-catch.
Key to this success has been the co-design approach used to develop the BATmap app. Skippers found BATmap easy to use, with several useful interactive mapping features that enabled them to view and summarise their own catch data. It was straightforward to adapt the software to suit their operational requirements and address any security concerns. After over three years of using BATmap, participants better understand the importance of industry-led data collection for tactical decision making at sea.
Contributing to better management
Spurdog has been part of BATmap reporting since 2020. Scientific advice for spurdog changed dramatically in 2022, moving from zero-catch advice to an advised TAC of over 17,000 tonnes. Fisheries managers were faced with deciding how this TAC could be translated operationally for different fishing areas.
As spurdog has been on the prohibited species list, little was known about regional variation in catches through traditional data reporting routes. BATmap participants therefore agreed that spurdog catch data could be shared with Marine Scotland to better understand seasonal catch rates on the West of Scotland.
In this way BATmap was able to inform the sustainable management of this data-deficient, protected species.
The BATmap project received the Sustainability Award 2021, sponsored by the Fishmongers’ Company and Fishing News UK. The award recognises and rewards outstanding innovation and achievement towards improving sustainability and environmental responsibility within the UK or Irish fishing industries in 2020. It aims to recognise projects that:
Co-designing the future
In May 2022 a workshop was held in Peterhead bringing together BATmap users and representatives from four Producer Organisations that had participated in the development and deployment of the app. The goal was to canvas users for feedback and identify priorities for future development.
Dan Martin, an Alaskan skipper with thirty-eight years of experience catching pollock, cod, rockfish and king crab, attended the workshop to describe how RTR was being used to reduce salmon by-catch and compare the Scottish and Alaskan experiences.
Scottish skippers made several practical recommendations to guide the next phase of software development, including refinement of the catch app and associated databases and analytical tools for the routine reporting of catch reports, catch maps, and seasonal distributions.
These recommendations were implemented in the software shortly afterwards. Funding to support the day-to-day costs of operating BATmap were discussed with a preference to broaden the base of users.
Creating new opportunities
The real innovation of BATmap is in demonstrating that skippers can share sensitive catch data for their collective benefit under the right set of conditions.
As participating skippers become more experienced applying real-time data analytics to decide when and where to fish, they will see new opportunities for using technology to benefit fishing operations and deliver sustainable fishing.
Links and further reading
Fishing News https://fishingnews.co.uk/featured/new-west-coast-by-catch-reduction-app-available/
Fishing News Bycatch lessons from Alaska (PDF)
Fishing News Next steps for BATmap (PDF)
Industry publications: Seafish Quay Issues published online https://www.seafish.org/document/?id=d827479f-2612-4d82-a6c0-8bc17270fae7
Wider media: The Conversation
Scientific publications: Calderwood, J., Marshall, C.T., Haflinger, K., Alfaro-Shigueto, J., Mangel, J.C., and Reid, D.G. 2021. What motivates fishers to share catch information? An evaluation of information sharing schemes. ICES J. Mar. Sci. https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsab252