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Impact and next steps

BATmap launched in January 2020 with the mobile app being used from June onwards. Since the launch over 5000 catch reports have been submitted by fourteen participating vessels and over 135 cod, 2 whiting, and 44 spurdog alerts have been automatically generated and disseminated. The vessels using BATmap catch over 70% of the cod landed in the West of Scotland. This high level of participation maximises the amount of information being used for mapping ‘hotspots’, where-catch of unwanted species is likely to be high. 

BATmap project report

Read our report on the findings on the initial pilot project here.

Measuring success

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.

Industry recogniton

FNA 2021 logo

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.

“I’ve found that regardless of the advancements we were able to achieve with our gear, the single most effective tool for managing salmon by-catch is the sharing of information. Whether it’s SeaState that I use in Alaska or BATmap that has been introduced in Scotland, the real time, boots-on-deck information that we’re able to access using real-time reporting is invaluable”.
Dan Martin, Alaskan Skipper

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.

SFO meeting
Dan Martin, skipper, descirbing how RTR was used in Alaska
Workshop bringing together Skippers and Producer Organisations, 2022

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.

“Fishermen want to contribute to fisheries management and BATmap has given us the opportunity to share information that can help reduce unwanted catches. We have made a lot of progress in a short time and any initial concerns I had about sharing information have been overcome. It will take time to develop fully, and more fishermen will want to participate as they see the benefits of it.”
John Clark – skipper, Reliance III

Links and further reading

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.