Data loading...

“What’s The Catch?” Online Gaming For Tuna Captains

New online game, “What’s the Catch?”, allows players to captain their own vessel and experience the ups and downs of commercial fishing. By-catch avoidance, market price fluctuation and dangerous weather conditions challenge players as they maneuver their vessel around the shore land and beyond in search for fish that will put money in their pocket at port.

“What’s the Catch?” comes as part of a Fisheries Toolkit that has been launched by the Environmental Defense Fund to help fishermen and seafood companies design and implement management systems to restore the sustainability and profitability of fisheries around the world.

With eight levels to sail through, there isn’t much that the game hasn’t thought of. Many of the challenges a commercial fisherman may face are mentioned, and players get an online experience of the difficulties of the fishing industry. Storm warnings appear; with the final one spurring boats to get “safe in port,” signaling the end of that “run”.

Level by level, the “captain” is instructed to target a different sea life species, from salmon, to herring, to tuna, which are green in color in the water. Guiding the vessel with simple controls, players have to be aware of the red colored, non-target species, which if caught and unloaded back at port will hit fishermen with unwanted fines. Too much by-catch on board results in a regulator warning: “You’ve been catching too much herring instead. Your by-catch of non-target species this year was 21 percent.”

Changes in market prices affect the profit of each run, mirroring real challenges in the industry. When the market is poor, a message explains: “You didn’t make much money from that load of fish because the going rate was low. Prices fluctuate with time and take a dip whenever fish of your target species are sold. Keep an eye on the market meter and try to sell when prices are high.”

The game provides an informative and interactive insight into the world of a commercial fisherman, and encourages players to fish both sustainably and profitably in order to reap the benefits and avoid unwanted fines. As part of twelve contributors to the EDF Toolkit, it accompanies manuals and reports with a more light-hearted way to promote sustainable fishing practices.