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Tom Robinson – 2018 Nuffield Scholar

Tom Robinson from Port Elliot, South Australia, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).

Tom will research how wild catch fishers can use a tablet-based data collection program to collate catch data and to prove the sustainability of their fishing practices.

Currently, due to government regulation, many Australian fisheries have been closed due to a lack of data verifying the fishing sector’s claims of sustainability. However, Tom believes part of the problem lies in the fact that many fishers do not collect their own catch data to assist in the management of their fisheries.

In recent times, this has meant the sharing of catch data with government corporations has been predominantly undertaken by scientists and environmentalists. Tom believes that access to better and more reliable data will enable fishers to benchmark themselves against industry averages and, in turn, boost their productivity.

Tom previously worked in advertising before making a literal sea change to Port Elliot, SA, to become a commercial fisherman in the Lakes and Coorong Pipi Fishery. In theme with his research topic, he has created a data collection program titled ‘Deckhand’ which will allow fishers to collect their own data electronically.

“I believe it’s critical that fishers start influencing their destiny by collecting their own data,” Tom said.

“Until now it has been impractical for fishers to collect fine sale data using paper. I believe Deckhand can turn every fisher into a scientist or data collector.”

Tom will travel to North America, Europe and parts of Asia to review their collation of fishing data and review how they might use a program such as Deckhand.

Phone: 0427 262 553

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