In its quest to streamline catch accountings and say so long to paper fish tickets, Alaska officials are planning to integrate salmon weights with hopper scales aboard tender boats next summer.
“We were approached by industry to see if we could modify one of our tLandings application onboard tenders to allow for automatic documentation of the scale weights,” said Gail Smith, eLandings program coordinator for the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, adding that Trident Seafoods and Rice Lake Weights are collaborating with the pilot project in Cordova.
About 20 percent of Alaska’s 600-700 tender boats use hoppers over hanging scales, Smith said, but more are moving towards vacuuming the fish from the catcher boats and conveying them to a hopper scale for better weighing accuracy.
“A brailer bag that is hung from a hanging scale has quite a lot of weight associated with the fish inside and bounces up and down more, so it’s hard to get a good accurate weight,” she explained.
Trial tests last year on tendered cod and pollock taken near Sand Point were very successful, Smith said, and the department is eager to try out the new system on salmon.
“Now we want to modify it to salmon landings because we’ve got more species and different delivery conditions, so we want to make sure it provides rapid, efficient documentation of the catch,” she added.
Another tLandings tablet platform, in partnership with Alaska General Seafoods and North Pacific Seafoods, will benefit small operators in more remote regions starting next summer at Bristol Bay.
“This will accommodate setnetters and beach-based deliveries to trucks or to smaller tenders. It will provide for greater reporting flexibility to meet the situations that occur in the industry,” Smith said.
Both projects are funded by NOAA Fisheries and Pacific State Marine Fisheries Commission.