Standard Talk (15 mins) Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2022

Diving into digital data collection: the Fish MoDE app story (#151)

Peta Schofield 1 , Jonathan Staunton-Smith 1
  1. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Fisheries Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Fisheries Queensland routinely collects a range of data to help assess the status of key fish stocks. For more than 20 years, their scientific monitoring team have used traditional paper datasheets to record data from a variety of fishery-dependent and -independent sampling activities. The resulting mountains of datasheets would undergo a labour-intensive process of data verification, entry into a central database, and final checking for any errors.

Under the banner of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy 2017-2027 and its emphasis on developing novel technologies, the Fishery Monitoring team worked with Telstra Purple to develop an app for recording data electronically. Staff combined expertise with software designers and developers to create and test the app, known as Fish MoDE which features four forms tailored to different types of data collection. The boat ramp survey form is used to record biological, social and economic data from recreational fishers returning to boat ramps. The length frequency survey form is used when sampling recreational and commercial catches in the field for length and sex information. The catch sampling survey form is used when collecting additional biological information such as multiple lengths, weight, otoliths and genetic samples. The fishery-independent survey form is used to record data during scientific surveys for scallops, crabs and prawns.

The most obvious benefit of Fish MoDE is the rapid availability of quality assured data, even when surveys are carried out in remote areas, including at-sea. Data can be uploaded straight after a survey is completed, with internet connectivity. Quality assurance is assisted by features built into the app including validation rules and subsequent alerts to the user. Other potential errors are flagged once data are uploaded, using pre-defined business rules. The investment and transition to Fish MoDE for recording data better supports the assessment and management of Queensland’s fish stocks.