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Australian Fisheries Department using GIS to monitor lobster industry

The Department of Fisheries in Western Australia is using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to asses the resources in the Abrolhos Islands, one of its key stock areas for the region’s A$400 million rock lobster industry.

The spatial data manager for the department, Brett Harrison, said they are using a specially devised GIS technology to monitor boundaries, stock areas, reserved areas and other significant locations that all have a bearing on the lobsters, such as places with tourist activity.

“Information fed into the GIS includes fisheries management boundaries, conservation areas, heritage sites, species habitats and breeding grounds, aquaculture leases and tourism locations to name a few,” he explained.

“We also have all fishing licence, lease and registration details stored in the GIS, which is linked to locations and information relating to the infrastructure and camps owned by fishermen and aquaculturists, creating a comprehensive central data warehouse. Policy officers and researchers have access to this location-based data and can switch it on and off as needed through a common map view.”

The system has been built with location intelligence specialists, Esri Australia. Esri’s Tom Gardner said that the system provided benefits both for the operators and for the users, providing easy avenues for feedback and interaction.

He said, “The GIS technology serves as a valuable tool in balancing Abrolhos heritage, environmental and tourism interests with its commercial fishing and aquaculture industries.”

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