Drones to be eye in the sky for crab fishing in Peel-Harvey Estuary

Fisheries Minsiter Dave Kelly.
Fisheries Minsiter Dave Kelly.

FOR the first time in WA, drone technology will be rolled out to monitor how recreational fishers go about getting their catch.

Fisheries and Innovation and ICT Minister Dave Kelly today launched the first drone being used in a 12-month survey run by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to monitor the recreational catch of the Mandurah crab fishery.

In June 2016, professional and recreational fishers who share the blue swimmer crab resource from the estuary, joined forces to become the world’s first commercial and recreational fishery to ever be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.

The survey will provide a comprehensive estimate of the distribution and effort of recreational fishers who go crabbing in the estuary, a condition of the certification.

The range of cameras that will used in the survey will provide 24-7 data on people wading in the field of view and provide invaluable information on how fishers use these sites during the day and night.

Mr Kelly said the Government was committed to ensuring the Mandurah crab fishery maintained its world-first status by continuing to improve how assessments of the fishery were done.

“For the next 12 months, departmental staff will be surveying shore-based recreational fishers during the day and night using a range of cameras, including a drone,’’ he said.

“By deploying innovative tools such as drones, departmental staff will be able to more easily assess the proportion of activity that occurs across more than 130sq km of the Peel-Harvey Estuary.

“WA has been world leader in sustainable fisheries for 20 years and we have achieved this through the great work undertaken by our Fisheries scientists and researchers.”

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