The New Zealand pāua (abalone) fishery is a $50 million export industry. We carry out analysis of pāua fisheries to provide information that is critical for responsive, well-informed management.

Information for sustainable fisheries

Good information is essential for the sustainable management of fisheries. The Pāua Industry Council helps manage catch in New Zealand pāua fisheries, to ensure that the populations remain healthy. Pāua divers collect data on each individual dive. From this fishing data, we are able to map the fishery and monitor its performance, reef by reef.

Statistical analysis supports decision making

Deciding whether to increase or decrease catches is a tough trade-off for fisheries. Decreasing catches puts short-term financial pressure on the fishers, but increasing catches may affect the longer-term sustainability. We carry out the statistical analysis needed to interpret the fisheries data, providing the advice fishers need to balance profitability with the long term health of the population.

Daily catch data displayed

The statistical analysis is supported by a data management programme. We built a web-based system, with each day’s catch data being uploaded to a database, visualised, and mapped. The data are fed through to a dashboard system, which allows fishers to make decisions on where to fish to avoid depleting the fishery.

The information is of high commercial value to the fishers, and we have developed processes that maintain the privacy of individual fisher’s data, while allowing high level summaries to be shared across the industry. The system is deployed on the Catalyst Cloud, an affordable and secure New Zealand cloud computing service.

Ensuring sustainability

The Ministry of Primary Industries is very positive about this work. They recognise the value that such detailed and timely information provides beyond their usual stock assessment process. Robust evidence of the state of the fishery will help ensure the sustainability of the fishery.

I learned really quickly that we had to find a scientist or a company that could operate outside the square – and that’s Dragonfly.

Making it simple [for the divers] is actually quite a complex process. That’s where you need these guys who have the intellectual capacity to nut the whole process through and just make it work.

Dragonfly has been absolutely awesome – we’re rapt.

Jeremy Cooper
Pāua Industry Council .