Feature story

Electronic logbooks save AFMA and fishers time and money

Since 2008 AFMA has developed and refined electronic logbook reporting, or e-logs, as an alternative to paper-based reporting of catch and effort data by fishing operators.

AFMA collects information about the location, time, gear and method of fishing as well as the catch amount for each fishing operation.

E-logs allow fishers to send this data to AFMA over the internet or by e-mail, either on return to port or while at sea, in place of paper log sheets.

This method is faster and more efficient, and means that AFMA can reduce its data processing costs.

First introduced in the Northern Prawn Fishery in 2009, the e-logs system is now used by approximately 80 per cent of operators in the fishery. Fishers in the Great Australian Bight sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery are also comprehensive users of e-log software. Operators in other fisheries are currently exploring the benefits of e-logs and AFMA is considering incentives to promote further uptake.

This information provided from logbooks assists AFMA to monitor and deduct catch quota from operators’ quota holdings and to ensure compliance with fisheries regulations.

Accurate logbook data helps fishery scientists provide AFMA with better information, which in turn leads to better informed catch limits due to reduced uncertainty about the quality of data.  Logbook data is also used by AFMA for harvest strategies, ecological risk assessments and monitoring of interactions with threatened, endangered and protected species.

E-logs allow fishers to submit their catch records and fishing data electronically rather than having to fill out paper logbooks.