Real-Time Fisheries Information Could Reduce Waste, Company Says

A Japanese fisheries company has equipped some of its boats with technology that enables crews to publish details of catches online in real time, an innovation they say could significantly reduce waste and allow for more sustainable management of fish stocks. Using webcams and laptop computers on four fishing boats, the company, Sanriku Toretate Ichiba, allows fishermen to match their catch to consumer demand, and enables customers to buy fish before it even reaches port. The system could also allow fishing crews to dump live fish back into the sea if there is not ample demand on shore, the company says. “The hard reality is most caught produce goes to waste and in extreme cases this results in fishermen increasing their catch to compensate for lost revenues,” said Kenichiro Yagi, the company president. Some experts question whether such technologies are feasible at industry scale, particularly in the case of large trawlers, whose harvesting processes are often lethal to fish as soon as they’re caught.