A Galician computer engineer, Pablo Belay, is making available as open source Xeopesca, to be used by fishing boats to optimise their catches and improve traceability of fish and fish-products. With the project he successfully completed his studies at the University of Coruña. Xeopesca is one of the contenders for this year's 'Best Graduation Project done with Free Software', organised by the government of the autonomous region.
The tool aims to make it easier for fishers to combine geographic location of their boats with information about the amount and sorts of fish caught and weather data. The gathered data will allow fishing boats to see more accurately what happens at sea and predict fish behaviour. It will also improve the sustainable management of marine resources, says Belay. "The data gathered by Xeopesca is intended to those who collect it."
It could eventually benefit the tracing of catches, the computer engineer says. At the moment, data are shared only among members of the same company, since one company may own many boats. "For shipowners, this generates knowledge of great value."
Fishing boat operators that want to use Xeopesca need nothing more than a web browser. The web-application itself runs on the Apache Tomcat Java application server and combines the database management system Postgresql with Postgis to allow storage and query of geographic location and mapping. Openlayers is used to render the maps.
Belay released his project earlier this month, aiming to create an open-software community. The project is also available through Mancomum, the software development forge of the government of Galicia.
There are yet no fishing boat operators using Xeopesca, but Belay hopes this will happen soon. He was contacted by LonxaNet Fundation, a Galician group promoting artisanal fishing, interested in using the solution. "They think that this application could help to make fishery socially, economically and environmentally sustainable."
He has reached out to the developers of Inapesca, a comparable solutions developed by the Mexican Fisheries Institute: "Though I have not yet heard back from them."