summer education programme launched

Published: Sat 15 Oct 2011 10:44 AM
15 October 2011
Award-winning mobile fishing technology, summer education programme launched
Launching the new public summer awareness campaign, “4 Million Guardians”, MAF Director General Wayne McNee tonight took the opportunity to congratulate the Ministry’s Compliance and Response team and the developers on their award-winning mobile fishing rules application.
“Finding the fishing rules for your area is now just a text or smartphone application away with our two new mobile services,” Mr McNee said. “Their potential was tonight recognised at the prestigious FutureGov awards in Malaysia, and at MAF and elsewhere the possibilities for adaptation seem limitless.”
The new services, which are free, deliver important fishing rules information such as catch limits or fish size limits to mobile phones 24 hours a day.
Mr McNee said it’s often when people are already out fishing that they find they need to know the relevant rules.
“They may not have our fishing handbook on them, so they can now access the most current information for the geographical area by phone no matter where they are around New Zealand.
“The fishing rules app is one of the government sector’s first uses of smartphone technology to deliver information in a convenient way to consumers. It is certain to have great potential in other areas like border control and biosecurity.”
The second new service enables those with standard mobile phones to text the species they’re fishing for to 9889. They receive a return text detailing the relevant rules for that species. There are no charges for texts.
MAF is still providing a phone-in service for fishing information which can be accessed by calling 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). The former 0800 4 RULES number has been discontinued.
Mr McNee said MAF was making available the full suite of rules information in time for the busy summer fishing season. “Once the Rugby World Cup is over, many of our 4 Million Guardians will be out enjoying the excellent fishing opportunities throughout the country.
“You won’t have any reason not to know the rules. Find them out yourself and tell your children and whanau. Fishery Officers will be out and about throughout the summer but they can’t do it all on their own.”
Fishers with smartphones can download the new application free of charge from Apple’s online app store or the Android market.
The application notes the user’s location through GPS positioning and links them to a range of information including fishing rules for the area and local notices.
Fishers can also view short video clips embedded within the app featuring useful fishing hints such as how to return undersized fish safely to the water.
The text service will cover some 150 species (currently around 100 are registered), so it is likely users will be able to find the information they’re seeking.
Fishers will also be able to join a register of users to receive regular updates such as temporary closures. To join, text ‘Register’ to 9889 and you will be guided through a registration process using your phone.
The text/smartphone project was developed by Adam Hutchinson from Mogeo of Christchurch. Adam is an enthusiastic recreational fisher and diver.
The FutureGov awards, now in their fifth year, celebrate the Asia-Pacific region’s most successful government, education and healthcare organisations. They are an international benchmark by which public sector innovation is judged.
The project tonight won the Wireless Government award and was also shortlisted for the Public Sector Organisation of the Year – Oceania award.
This year over 20 countries were involved and there were 22 nomination categories.
The only previous New Zealand public sector winner was the Department of Internal Affairs, which won the iGovt Identity Verification Service award in 2010.
More information on the awards:

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