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ISSF Providing Fleets iPads To Collect Data On FAD By-catch United States, September 7, 12

Today the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) announced the latest in handheld computing technology, equipped with newly designed applications, has been shipped to help tuna fishing vessels begin building a network of continuing education, information sharing and compliance monitoring. The recipients are the first vessels to register for listing on ISSF’s ProActive Vessel Register (PVR), a database designed to help identify vessels adopting responsible, best-in-class tuna fishing practices.
The new applications are loaded on Apple iPads, which are provided to each vessel that registers for listing on the PVR. The recently designed FADTrack app was developed to address the lack of data and management tools available for keeping tabs on the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs), manmade floating objects that attract fish. The electronic application can be used to record data each time a vessel deploys, visits or fishes in tandem with a FAD. GPS technology automatically records the location of each FAD, while the vessel’s skipper plugs in information such as catch, occurrence of by-catch and other variables often missing in the data for individual FADs.

“While we aggressively advocate for tuna vessels to improve their practices, it is vital that we support fishers with the tools necessary to meet the growing demands placed on their industry,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “Today we’re delivering on our promise of working with the fishing community by using the latest in touch screen, portable technology to interact with an audience that spends so much time isolated at sea. We’re bringing the advancement to them.”

The data collected by FADTrack applications will be submitted directly to fishery management organizations’ scientific teams. The goal is for the information to be used by fishery managers to create and implement FAD management plans.

Jackson added, “The opportunity that comes with using this technology doesn’t stop with collecting information. Once we’re engaged, we can also maintain an ongoing dialogue to share information on how we can be better stewards of our ocean’s resources through the adoption of practices that reduce a vessel’s environmental footprint.”

Another feature delivered to vessels on each iPad is the Skipper Guidebook app; a virtual textbook of best practices for by-catch mitigation, FAD design, data collection, and monitoring, control and surveillance efforts. Information in the Skipper Guidebook is grouped into chapters with interactive quizzes at the end of each lesson. The application will be updated continuously with best practices for by-catch mitigation as more knowledge is gathered through ISSF’s #By-catchProject and other by-catch research.